GRANITE BAY-- Despite mounting injuries to several key players, the Granite Bay Grizzlies seem to have found rejuvenation.
For the second straight week, the Grizzlies came away from Friday with a momentum-building win, shutting out the Vacaville Bulldogs, 31-0, at home. Granite Bay is now 8-6-1 against Vacaville dating back to 2004.
Chase Garmon scored two rushing touchdowns for the Grizzlies while Anthony Martin and TJ Jones added scores of their own. But it was the defense, head coach Jeff Evans said, that was key in helping Granite Bay improve to 2-2 on the year.
“Our defense played lights out again,” said Evans. “Our defensive coaching staff had Vacaville dialed up, and our guys played physical enough to stop them. Vacaville is a good, physical team, and it was nice to be able to keep them out of the end zone.”
After suffering an injury in last week’s 27-12 win at Jesuit, senior linebacker Jacob Ellis did not play Friday against Vacaville. Evans said he wanted to give Ellis time to heal and rest before Sierra Foothill League play begins next Friday against Del Oro.
“We’re trying to get (Ellis) healthy for league,” Evans said. “But guys stepped up. It’s a credit to our defensive coaches. Guys like Bo Hannum and Jonathan Karabinus really stepped in and filled Jacob’s shoes as best as they could.”
Granite Bay kicker Everett Hayes booted a whopping 53-yard field goal for the Grizzlies.
“I think that might be a school record,” said Evans.
Injuries keep accompanying the Grizzlies’ games. Friday, another pillar of the offensive line, Bryce Van Order, left the game, leaving Granite Bay looking much different in the trenches from the start of the year. But Evans said he’s proud of his team’s next-guy-up mentality.
“We might win ugly; it’s not always a thing of beauty,” said Evans. “Again, that’s another credit to our offensive line coaches. We’re down to just one starter who we had as a starter at beginning of the year… It was a group effort when all was said and done.”
The Grizzlies will need to be at their best as SFL play opens next Friday as they welcome the red-hot Golden Eagles of Del Oro, who are undefeated through four games and averaging more than 50 points per game during that stretch. It will be a rematch of last year’s Division II Sac-Joaquin Section final, which the Grizzlies won 22-0.