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Sore Keeney muscles up as Granite Bay pounds Clovis East

By: John Parker/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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The congratulatory pats on the back are coming just as fast and furious as ever for Granite Bay senior quarterback Brendan Keeney, though they’re a bit softer nowadays.

Keeney, who didn’t throw all week in practice for the second week in a row because of a sore muscle in his upper back, keyed a 42-3 demolition of visiting Clovis East on Friday night by completing 11 of 14 passes for 126 yards and three touchdowns. His night was done one series into the fourth quarter, giving way to junior Grant Caraway.

“It feels good to get out of the game in the fourth quarter, because it means you’re up by a lot,” Keeney said.

Coach Ernie Cooper said Keeney, a three-year starter for the Grizzlies (3-0), practiced this week only in taking drops and working with the first team. That was much better than the week leading to last Friday’s shootout with St. Mary’s, in which he didn’t practice at all.

“It’s getting better,” Cooper said. “It’s about (two times) better than it was last week.”

Keeney completed his first nine pass attempts in coolly guiding scoring drives on the Grizzlies’ first three possessions to take a commanding 21-0 lead. With lightning strikes visible on the horizon, Keeney tossed three touchdown strikes, two to senior tight end Spencer Briare and one to senior receiver Adam Wagner on his best throw of the night.

From the Clovis East 8-yard line, Keeney took his drop, spotted Wagner crossing from right to left and fit the ball in a tiny window just over a defender’s outstretched arm in the corner as Wagner got two feet inbounds.

The Granite Bay defense, after having “grown up,” in Cooper’s words, in the second half against St. Mary’s, did its part again by holding the Timberwolves’ double-wing rushing offense to 187 yards and three points.

“This is a grinder team in Clovis East. I told my guys to bring their lunch pales because it’s hardhat day,” Cooper said. “I’m proud of how my guys dug in and got dirty — and not in a bad way.”

The Grizzlies forced four turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions — led by senior free safety Alec Naki’s fumble recovery and interception.

“We keyed in on their backs all night and just shut their passing game down,” Naki said.

Junior defensive end J.R. Calton recovered a fumble and had a sack on a key third down in the first half. The Grizzlies were especially stingy on the “money down,” allowing the Timberwolves (0-2) to convert just 4 of 10.

Granite Bay 42, Clovis East 3

Clovis East      0   3     0   0 —   3
Granite Bay   14   7   14   7 — 42

GB — Briare 13 pass from Keeney (Bermudez kick)
GB — Wagner 8 pass from Keeney (Bermudez kick)
GB — Briare 10 pass from Keeney (Bermudez kick)
CE — FG Holland 39
GB — Ellison 97 kickoff return (Bermudez kick)
GB — Bird 29 run (Bermudez kick)
GB — Towery 5 run (Bermudez kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING
— Clovis East, K. Coleman 9-44, Jackson 9-44, Conde 8-28, Nagata 6-24, Campbell 4-21, Vargas 1-14, Poe 1-3, Randall 1-minus 3. Granite Bay, Bird 7-62, Cooley 5-31, Bertolino 4-42, Ellinwood 3-8, Rigdon 2-17, Mook 2-9, Keeney 2-5, Towery 2-minus 1, Ellison 1-12.
PASSING — Clovis East, Randall 4-10-2, 48. Granite Bay, Keeney 11-14-1, 126.
RECEIVING — Clovis East, Stuckey 2-32, K. Coleman 2-16. Granite Bay, Briare 5-52, Bertolino 4-43, Wagner 2-24, Mook 1-7.