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Granite Bay shakes off rust, plunders Pittsburg

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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Granite Bay High School has seen a spread offense, the I formation of Pittsburg, Clovis East’s run-oriented attack and the wing T Nevada Union will bring to town Friday night for a Sierra Foothill League opener.

The Grizzlies have played road games in Sparks, Nev., Vacaville and Pittsburg.
“We’ve seen some stuff. We’ve been battle tested,” coach Ernie Cooper said Monday night. “I got that schedule for a reason. We hope it helps us.”

Granite Bay also enters defense of its co-SFL championship with Del Oro healthy after beating Pittsburg 27-7 on Friday night. So even after playing the likes of Reed (Nev.) and St. Mary’s of Stockton and exiting nonleague play with a 4-1 record, Cooper figured the rest of the SFL’s coaches, like himself, were saying, “Oh my goodness, here we go.”

Here we go is right: NU at Granite Bay, Roseville at Woodcreek, Del Oro at Rocklin — opening week in the SFL.

Granite Bay came out of its bye week and committed eight penalties in the first quarter and 11 in the first half at Pittsburg. The Grizzlies finished with 14 yellow rags for 140 yards.

The Grizzlies finally mounted a drive in the second quarter that ended with a 43-yard field goal by Nick Bermudez.

“It was just a pick-me-up,” Cooper said.

Alec Naki then returned his first of two interceptions to the Pittsburg 1-yard line, and Arik Bird ground out the last yard for the touchdown.

A big pass by Brendan Keeney set up Bermudez for a 36-yard field goal, and after what Cooper said was probably Granite Bay’s worst half of the season, “We were up 13-0.”

Granite Bay’s defense came up with four interceptions and a fumble recovery, and Keeney threw touchdown passes of 17 yards to Spencer Briare and 57 yards to Bird in the fourth period as the Grizzlies pulled away from the Pirates (3-2).

NEXT GAME

7:30 p.m. Friday vs. Nevada Union

Grizzlies on TV: Granite Bay’s 27-7 victory over Pittsburg will be televised at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, on Comcast Channel 104.

About Nevada Union: A perennial playoff contender with four Sac-Joaquin Section championship banners, the Miners moved from the Delta Valley Conference into the Sierra Foothill League last fall with a young team and went 0-5. Many players are back, and the Miners are, well, the Miners again, the only hiccup a 23-7 loss to surprising Elk Grove on Sept. 23. As an aside, Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon, a Nevada Union graduate, felt the verbal spew of a Thundering Herd dad after the game — a win, remember — over (drum roll) playing time. Guess a 5-0 record isn’t enough.