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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE

Penalties stymie Granite Bay in 40-28 win over Roseville

By: Trevor Horn■Press Tribune correspondent
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After a game that lasted over three hours with 29 combined penalties for 295 yards, Granite Bay coach Skip Albano did not mince words on his thoughts of the officiating that seemed to be more like the Supreme Court deliberating in chambers than calling a high school football game.

“I coached in Europe for six years. And they’re some of the worst officials I’ve ever seen because they just don’t know the game,” Albano said. “This was the worst — worse than that.”

Despite being flagged 22 times for 210 yards, the Grizzlies (5-1 overall, 1-0 Sierra Foothill League) overcame a 14-13 halftime deficit to beat host Roseville 40-28 in the league opener for both programs.

“What I am happy about is the guys persevered,” Albano said. “And that sums it up. They just kept working at it.”

Led by a ground-it-out performance by senior running back Michael Geraghty (21 rushes, 95 yards, two touchdowns) and a solid breakout performance by junior Ben Smith (six carries, 117 yards, two touchdowns), Granite Bay relied on strong defense and the run game en route to 35 unanswered points after Roseville (3-3, 0-1) took a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

“We had a game for the taking in the first half,” Roseville coach Larry Cunha said. “I thought we really out-played them on both sides of the ball and left some points on the table that we shouldn’t have. That’s what came back to bite us in the second half.”

Roseville scored first on a 29-yard quarterback keeper by Kyle Downie on the second series of the game. After Geraghty scored his first touchdown on a 10-yard run to tie it up at 7-7, Roseville responded on the next series with a one-yard scoring run by Issac Carrel.

Smith's 26-yard scoring burst set up a one-yard score for Geraghty that put the game at 14-13 at the half.

A hearty halftime pep talk from Albano to his team, and the Grizzlies were off and running after that.

“We knew going into the half in the locker room that we weren’t playing the type of football that we wanted,” Geraghty said. “We were making stupid mistakes on offense. We were being undisciplined.”

After Roseville was forced to punt on the first series of the third quarter, Smith capped off the next drive for Granite Bay with a blistering 40-yard touchdown run to give the Grizzlies their first lead at 19-14.

Then the Grizzlies defense got into the scoring mood on a 42-yard interception return by Luke Bussey that the senior defensive back followed to the end zone behind solid blocking from his fellow defenders.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to those blockers,” Bussey said. “They were getting a wall set up for me to get in.”

Roseville added two late scores on a one-yard rush by Mike Dobler and a 16-yard pass from Dobler to Jonathan Lopez after Downie left the game with bruised ribs in the third quarter.

Matt Razzano led Roseville with 52 rushing yards on 20 carries on a night that the Granite Bay defense kept the Tigers run game in check.

Granite Bay hosts Rocklin next week after the Thunder beat Nevada Union on Friday. Roseville will play at Del Oro on Oct. 19 after the Golden Eagles beat Woodcreek 42-7.

“I think we can play with anybody,” Cunha said. “We just have got to play for 48 minutes.”

The Granite Bay junior varsity squad managed a 27-26 win over Roseville after the Tigers came up short on a gutsy two-point conversion attempt in the final moments.

Contact Trevor Horn at trev.horn@gmail.com.

Follow him on twitter @trevhorn.