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Tracy rallies to beat Granite Bay football in OT, reach SJS football finals

By: Ike Dodson■of the Roseville Press Tribune
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GRANITE BAY — Granite Bay High junior Scott Henrichs had two chances to send the Grizzlies to the D1 Sac-Joaquin Section football finals Friday, but he couldn’t beat a triple-icing in the final moments of regulation or Tracy defense back Joshua Clarke in overtime.

Clarke intercepted Justin Yeaton on an in-and-out fade to Henrichs after Granite Bay’s first snap of overtime to give the Bulldogs a 27-21 victory and ticket to the SJS finale.

“I knew (Henrichs) wasn’t going in, because we had help in the middle, so as soon as he cut, I just read it and just ran with it,” Clarke said moments after his game-winning pick. “I just saw the ball and went for it.

“I thought I was out, but then the ref saw my feet in and I just thank God for that.”

Henrichs, also the kicker, missed his chance to win the game with 16 seconds to play, as Granite Bay set up for a 29-yard field goal. Tracy coach Matt Shrout called time out to ruin two perfect kicks to win the game, then cleverly used his third before the next kick, stalling the Granite Bay special teams unit for a third time in the rain and cold.

It was a perfectly executed icing of the kicker.

Henrich’s third boot in four attempts swung well left of the post and Tracy ran the final seconds off the clock to force overtime.

The game-winning score was ultimately rewarded to Tracy’s Courtney Hawkins, who was the unexpected recipient of a third and goal handoff from the 6 yard-line in Tracy’s opening drive of overtime.

The Bulldogs failed to convert the extra point after a poor snap, but Clarke finished the game anyway.

Tracy (10-3) moves on to play Folsom in the D1 championship game next week. Folsom beat Monterey Trail 56-14 Friday.

After 16 consecutive playoff appearances and 14 treks to the semifinals across that span, Granite Bay (9-4) will wait at least one more year to contend for its sixth section title.

“Our guys overachieved all year long,” Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper said. “This was not our strongest or fastest team, at all, but its a team that just gave us everything they had.”

Granite Bay finished with 371 total yards of offense to Tracy’s 199.

The Grizzlies saw Yeaton go 12 for 25 for 189 yards and two interceptions. He hit Will Stabbert (4 catches, 84 yards) on a 30-yard TD. Tyler Brendel led Granite Bay runners with 88 yards on five carries. Brendel broke loose for a 57-yard touchdown to open the game. Lucas Baiocchi (9-27) also scored.

Tracy quarterback Michael Brown was 5 for 11 for 63 yards and ran for a nine-yard score. Nate Jones worked for 69 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

Email Ike Dodson at iked@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson.