Woodcreek, Granite Bay return to action Friday

T-wolves host Whitney; Grizzlies play Pittsburg
By: Kayla Nix
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Woodcreek and Granite Bay are coming off a week of rest as their final nonleague football games approach. Woodcreek (3-1) was overrun with injuries from its first four games but now expects running back Michael Blair to return, and tight end Brandon Whitebear should be ready for Friday’s matchup at home against Whitney (2-2), according to coach John Hildebrand. Whitebear will play in a cast to protect his broken hand. Their return is huge for the Timberwolves, Hildebrand said. “They’re really good football players,” he said. “Both are dynamic and intelligent. They really embody what we do at Woodcreek High School.” Seniors Derrick Kimball and Devon Murphy will miss the rest of the season. Murphy sustained a lacerated kidney in Week Zero, and Kimball suffered a punctured lung after breaking ribs in Week Three. Center Mark Smith broke his back against Lincoln, and Jason Stewart tore an ACL. Both are done for the season. Kicker Bobby Reeves played in the first game but is still out because of a broken collarbone. “It’s definitely been the worst year we’ve ever experienced here,” Hildebrand said. “We’ve had a bunch of kids step up. We’ve bonded, and there are guys that never would have stepped up if some of these things never happened. … They’ve really risen to the occasion.” In addition to getting healthier, the Timberwolves used the bye week to work on glaring issues on the field. Woodcreek committed 15 turnovers in four games, a statistic that has the staff concerned, Hildebrand said. Along with ball security, the Timberwolves focused on tackling and offensive tempo, Hildebrand said. Woodcreek opens Sierra Foothill League play Oct. 8 against Roseville (2-2), which the Timberwolves beat 16-7 last season. “For us, Roseville’s always a big deal,” Hildebrand said. “If you were to ask any of our kids, it’s probably our biggest rival. We’re pretty back-and-forth competitive with them.” Granite Bay (2-2) will take on winless Pittsburg (0-4) at home Friday night. The Grizzlies have struggled with run defense, having allowed 496 yards to Vacaville two weeks ago. Granite Bay begins SFL play at Nevada Union (4-1) on Oct. 7.