Shootout loss ends Grizzlies' season

Folsom spread offense a little too much for Granite Bay
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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In a heavyweight battle between two teams trading big plays, the Folsom High football team had one or two more on Friday night. The Bulldogs unleashed their spread offense and knocked off a gritty Granite Bay team 42-28 at Folsom’s Prairie City Stadium in a Division II second-round contest. After a lot of trading back and forth in the first half that left Folsom clinging to a 21-14 intermission advantage, the game’s second punt came on the series that may have swung this one towards the Bulldogs. The Grizzlies had to kick the ball away after their first sequence following the break, and after the teams traded turnovers for the third time in the game, Folsom scored just before the end of the third to earn the game’s first two-touchdown advantage. “I felt good at halftime, we were playing right with them,” said Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper. “We needed a good second half start and we just didn’t get it.” While Granite Bay managed to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns, it could not stop Folsom the rest of the way as it saw its season end as trading touchdowns left the Grizzlies on the short end. The offenses were humming out of the chute, as both teams scored on their first opportunity of the contest. A diving catch at the end line by Tyler Trosin put Folsom ahead, and the Grizzlies answered with a 56-yard drive in eight plays to even it up, as Keeney ran the sneak for the final yard. The Bulldogs scored again the second time they had the ball, and then the next four series ended in turnovers as each team fumbled once and threw one interception. “We thought we could score on them every time we had the ball,” Cooper said. “They were just a little better than us tonight.” Granite Bay took its only lead of the night, 14-13, on a Devaunte Bolton leap over the pile with 7:16 to go before halftime, but Folsom answered right back and the Bulldogs led the rest of the way. Dano Graves hit running back Jordan Richards for that third Folsom score. It was Graves’ third scoring toss of the night. Down 35-28 with just over two minutes to play, the Grizzlies had one final chance to get a critical stop that would have set them up for one last drive, but once again it was Folsom getting the play it needed. On fourth-and-10 at the Granite Bay 38, Bulldog quarterback Graves hit Kori Babineaux on a fade to the one-yard-line that essentially iced the game. The Grizzlies’ defense had moved Folsom backwards on first and second down, and then the Bulldogs got six yards back on third-and-16 before going for it on fourth down with 2:22 on the clock. Babineaux, at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds was just too big for 5-11, 170 Nick Spring, who was running right with him. Babineaux executed a nice double-move to create just enough space on the sidelines for the perfectly thrown pass to reach him. “These guys have a great scheme, they are well coached and then you add in the great athletes and you have a tough combination,” Cooper said. “They made a couple more plays than we did tonight.” Granite Bay proved capable of moving the ball against the Folsom defense, but four turnovers and a number of critical penalties bit the Grizzlies on this night. Bolton closed out his high school career with 69 rushing yards and two scores, while sophomore quarterback Brendan Keeney threw for 149 yards, including some critical throws to Tanner Holt and Matt Kasner on late-game drives. Granite Bay had a big fourth-down play of its own on the first possession of the fourth period, as Keeney went up top on a fourth-and-three play, and found Matt Kine for a 36-yard connection that set the Grizzlies up for the score that pulled them within seven at 28-21. Keeney hit Holt on a crossing route a few minutes later to pick up 26 in erasing a third-and 10 when Granite Bay was behind by a 35-21 score. He hit Holt again two plays later for 13 more before finding Kasner in the corner of the end zone to halve the Folsom advantage once again. The Grizzly defense got some big hits from Mike Wade and Ashkan Mizani, and forced three turnovers of its own, but in the end there was too much Graves (28-of-38 for 271 yards passing and four TDs; 20 rushes for 97 yards and one TD) and Trosin (12 catches for 143 yards, two TDs; seven carries for 78 yards and one TD). The loss moves fourth-seeded Folsom ahead to tackle No. 8 Del Oro, an. upset winner of top-seeded St. Mary’s Friday night, next week. That game will be played at Folsom. Granite Bay sees its season end with a 9-3 final record. “I walk out of here with my head high,” Cooper said. “I told our guys they should do the same. We left it all out there. We are not taking anything back to Granite Bay with us. It would have been nice to have a Granite Bay vs. Del Oro game next week, but that game here (in Folsom) is going to be a great one.”