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When it comes to pass, Reed can't stop Granite Bay

By: Aaron Retherford/Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
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SPARKS, Nev. - Brendan Keeney completed 19 of 26 passes for 284 yards and three touchdowns, including a 48-yarder to Tony Ellison with 5:45 remaining that gave Granite Bay High School a 43-37 victory over host Reed in a season opener Friday night.

Big plays revealed a deficiency in the middle of the Raiders’ secondary all night, and the go-ahead touchdown was no exception. Ellison was wide open when he caught the pass over the middle from Keeney, the Grizzlies' three-year starter. Nick Bermudez’s extra point provided the final margin.

Reed had one last shot to pull out a win, trekking into the red zone before coming up empty on fourth and 5 at the Granite Bay 18-yard line.

The Grizzlies then converted three third downs on the ensuing possession and ran out the last 3:46.

“It still always comes down to little mistakes. You come down to a team like that, you’ve got to be pretty mistake-free at that point,” Reed coach Ernie Howren said. “It’s an excellent program over there. Our kids played their tails off. There was a point in the game where the momentum shifted a little bit, and I really thought our kids got it back.”

All eyes at Reed were on senior A.J. Silva, as Raiders fans hoped he'd carry on the tradition of standout quarterbacks in his first varsity start. Silva didn’t disappoint. He completed his first seven passes, leading three consecutive scoring drives to start the game.

However, Silva’s 371 yards on 28-of-37 passing weren’t enough. Granite Bay needed just five plays in the second quarter to tie the score at 21, including two long touchdowns.

Silva was stellar in the first half, when he completed 14 of 19 passes for 200 yards.

Reed used up fewer than five minutes of clock to roll up 195 yards in going up 21-7 in the first quarter. John Covello scored from one yard out and Kyle Vonschimmelmann plowed two yards into the end zone. Silva connected with Devin Gray on a deep pass down the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown. Gray caught 12 passes for 147 yards and three scores.

Granite Bay tied the score at 7 on its opening possession on a 10-yard pass from Keeney to senior Michael Bertolino.

The Grizzlies didn’t get into the end zone again until the first play of the second quarter, when senior running back Arik Bird was stuffed at the line. He reversed field and bounced out to the right sideline. And with one cutback, he was gone for a 73-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-14.

After forcing Reed to punt for the first time, Granite Bay took over at its 34. Four plays later, the game was deadlocked 21-21. Senior Ian Mook blazed past two Reed defenders and hauled in a pass on the run for a 55-yard touchdown down the sideline.

The Raiders drove downfield again, but an illegal formation penalty negated a 13-yard touchdown. Reed settled for a 35-yard field goal by Silva, giving the home team a 24-21 halftime lead.

Reed tried to convert a fourth-and-inches play at the Granite Bay 47 on its first possession of the second half, but a high snap allowed the Grizzlies to take over on the Reed 39.

Bird capped the short drive with a one-yard touchdown run, giving Granite Bay its first lead, 28-24, with 6:10 left in the third quarter.

Reed answered by driving 82 yards in 10 plays in less than three minutes. The Raiders regained the lead, 30-28, on Gray’s 10-yard touchdown reception.

Still, the Raiders couldn't find an answer to Granite Bay’s offense. Mook's four-yard end around and a two-point conversion put Granite Bay ahead 36-28 with 10:35 remaining.

The Raiders claimed their final advantage, 37-36, 2 1/2 minutes later on Gray’s third touchdown catch, from four yards out.