Granite Bay runs over Chavez, 63-14 in a postseason football blowout

By: Jorden Hales■of the Roseville Press Tribune
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GRANITE BAY — The Granite Bay High Grizzlies football team opened its 2014 postseason campaign with a 63-14 victory over Chavez Friday.

The contest was a one-sided affair from the onset, with Granite Bay scoring nearly half its points in the games first seven minutes.

“Our guys really took to heart that we didn’t play well in the second half against Del Oro. Our offense really stunk it up,” Grizzlies head coach Ernie Cooper said. “I told the guys ‘That’s not who we are,’ and they responded…right off the bat.”

The Grizzlies’ defense had an exceptional showing as well, not yielding a first down until the game’s second half.

“They’ve been playing well,” Cooper said. “We did a really good job on their run game, though (the Titans) were without their top (running) back. In the playoffs, you’ve got to play great defense, so we wanna’ ride our defense right now. We need them to keep doing what they’re doing if we have any chance this next week at all.

The Grizzlies will host the Napa High School Indians next week. The two programs have met in the post season twice in the past five years. Granite Bay won on both occasions, with the most recent having occurred in 2012, when the Grizzlies won a D1 state title.

“I’m not personally familiar with them (Napa), but our coaches are,” said senior wide receiver Brian Graber, who finished the game with one 31-yard touchdown reception. “But they are familiar with us, so it should be a good game. I’m excited, it’s playoffs.”

Cooper’s experience against the Indians dates back to 2006, when Granite Bay met them in a non-league contest

“They have the same staff, we have the same staff,” Cooper said. “It’s an intriguing match up. There aren’t a whole lot of things we can spring on them, because they kind of know all our little gismos.”

Coaches and players began following Napa’s round one match up against Pitman during the second half and were well aware of their prospective opponent’s probable victory long before they had official secured their own.

“I like playing teams we’ve never played before,” Cooper said with a laugh.

With the game no longer in doubt, Cooper went to his bench – comprised primarily of juniors and junior varsity call-ups. He was encouraged by their performance, believing them to be an indication of the program being able to maintain its success.

“That was exciting to see,” he said. “They’ll probably be the starters next year. We had all juniors in there on the O-line. One of our seniors at half time said ‘Hey, you guys are the future…get in there and have a great second half.’ Anytime you can get those guys playing time…that helps.”

Junior running back Christian Fisher concurs, adding that his experience last season – under similar conditions – helped elevate his play this year. He believes the opportunity for extended playing time will do the same as he looks to his senior campaign.

“It was a great experience, getting me ready for next year and giving me great exposure to our offense,” said Fisher. “I really think it does help with the game-time plays, learning the actual game speed. It’s amazing.”

Follow Jorden Hales on Twitter, @JordenPHales.