Granite Bay storms past Jesuit to earn first victory of season

By: Cameron Salerno
-A +A

CARMICHAEL-- When you are a part of the Granite Bay football program, wins and losses don’t matter until playoff time. This was proven when the 2012 Granite Bay Grizzlies started off 0-2 but rattled off 10 straight wins and eventually knocked off Long Beach Poly in the State Championship game.


Fast forward to 2018 and the Grizzlies found themselves in a similar situation when they dropped the first two games to Monte Vista and Damonte Ranch. The Grizzlies Friday afternoon versus a Top 3 team in Sacramento, got the offense rolling and snuck by Jesuit, 27-12.


“We celebrate that team (2012) and all the great teams in Granite Bay history, even last year’s team,” Granite Bay head coach Jeff Evans confessed. “We also want our guys to know this is their journey and it was important for us to get that signature win.”


Despite the win by Granite Bay, another key player from the Grizzlies went down due to injury. Senior Jacob Ellis went down on the first series with an apparent shoulder injury. Injuries have been a common theme for Granite Bay this season already losing a handful of key returners.


“We lost our best player in the first series in Jacob Ellis due to an injury, but I thought our coaches stepped up to fill the loss,” Evans said. “The kid is a fighter, and if there's any way he can play, he is going to do it. But we are thinking long-term, and I know guys will step up for us like they did today.”


Jesuit, however, was banged up themselves and starting running backs Jackson Canaan and Isaiah Rutherford were both out with injuries. That meant backup running back Cade Cunningham would get the nod, and he made his presence known early scoring on a 3-yard touchdown run for the game’s first points.


Then the momentum switched.


Granite Bay corner Kai Singleton picked off Jesuit quarterback Hank Harvego midway through the second and the Grizzlies capitalized on it big time. A big 36-yard pass from Granite Bay quarterback TJ Robertson led the Grizzlies to score from six yards out; the first touchdown of the season for Granite Bay.


“What it came down to is I just trusted my guys,” Robertson explained. “I thought our defense stepped up for us tonight and made our job on offensive a lot easier.”


The next defensive series offered two sacks from Granite Bay’s young defensive line, which forced Jesuit to punt. Granite Bay then drove down the field and scored on a quarterback-keeper from Robertson to take a 14-6 lead into the locker room.


Jesuit scored midway through the third and on defense picked off Robertson. Despite trailing 14-12, it looked like Jesuit would regain the momentum until they were forced to punt. On the next play, Robertson threw a screen pass to Chase Garmon, who scampered 77 yards to the end zone to take a 21-12 lead.


Granite Bay got a pair of field goals from Everett Hayes and two interceptions from Ty Peterson,  which helped them earn a commanding 27-12 victory over Jesuit for its first victory since the section championship game in early December.


“Our kids worked hard today and they believed in themselves,” Evans explained. “We play tough teams for a reason because it helps us get prepared for league. We played very good teams early on in the season, and I thought it was important for our guys to taste success and get the win over a very good Jesuit team.”


Granite Bay won’t have much time to celebrate, however. Next week they will take on a strong Vacaville team at home, which previously lost to Sierra Foothill League foe Oak Ridge, 42-0.


“I think if we come back and do the same thing we did today, we will be ready for next week,” Robertson said. “I have full confidence in our defense to do the same thing they did this week for next week's game versus Vacaville.”


With Granite Bay still nursing multiple injuries, new and young faces will have to step up to keep the win streak alive.


“We have really good football players that will step up for us,” Evans said. “We won’t take a backseat to anyone, and I know our guys will step up despite injuries.”