SACRAMENTO — Granite Bay’s Fly offense rang up 541 yards in upending Oak Ridge 35-23 Friday for the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I football championship game at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex on the Sacramento State campus — the second consecutive year the Grizzlies defeated the Trojans in the postseason.
Behind 14-3 at halftime, Oak Ridge trimmed Granite Bay’s lead to 14-9 with 8:43 in the third quarter when Trojan wide receiver Jacob Sipes hauled in a 19-yard pass from quarterback Jason Samuels. On the kickoff, Trojans head coach Eric Cavaliere called for a pooch kick and Troy wide receiver Chad Augood recovered the loose ball at the Grizzly 43-yard line.
“It’s something we planned for, kicking into the wind,” Cavaliere said. “We had to hang that thing up there, make a play on it.”
The Trojans marched to the Grizzlies’ 10-yard line, but came up short as they lost the ball on downs.
Trojans wide receiver Ross Dwelley, a two-sport athlete who is a pitcher on the school’s baseball team, had 9 receptions for 105 yards.
“I’ve never seen hands like his,” Trojans wide receiver Justin Priest said of Dwelley. “If he gets the ball in his hands, it’s guaranteed to be a play.”
Cavaliere added, “Ross is a stud. He was definitely the go-to guy we knew we could count on.”
Granite Bay scored on its ensuing drive when running back Tony Ellison scored on an 11-yard run with 2:15 left in the quarter to make it 21-9. The Grizzlies increased their lead to 28-9 in the fourth quarter at 10:47 when fullback Taft Partridge went off-tackle and found open space for a 47-yard run.
But the Trojans were determined to pull out a come-from-behind win. Samuels, 25-of-49 passes for 314 yards, hit Priest on two passes on a drive that set up running back Blake Martin, who scored on a 2-yard run with 9:11 left in the game to cut the lead to 28-17.
“We never quit,” Trojan lineman Kareem Ballal said. “We are a team that will fight to the finish. We did that tonight and I’m very proud of them.”
Granite Bay scored again when Ellison went untouched for an 84-yard touchdown with 8:51 left.
Oak Ridge responded on its next drive that ended when Samuels found wide receiver Bryon Spain on a 19-yard pass with 6:52 left but failed on the 2-point conversion to leave the score 35-23.
Cavaliere called for another onside kick that was recovered again by the Trojans. Unfortunately, Oak Ridge turned the ball over on loss of downs at the Grizzlies’ 12-yard line.
Oak Ridge had another chance toward the end of the fourth quarter, moving the ball down to Granite Bay’s 15-yard line but Grizzly inside linebacker Cameron Smith picked off a Samuel pass to end the threat and give Granite Bay another title. Oak Ridge had three turnovers in the game.
Granite Bay scored its first touchdown in the first quarter with 7:40 left when running back John Cooley scored on a 5-yard run. Oak Ridge responded with a Ryan Lamb 27-yard field goal with four minutes left to make it 7-3. The Grizzlies scored with 28 seconds left in the quarter when Grizzly quarterback Grant Caraway hit tight end Steven Graber on a 9-yard pass.
The Trojans had 431 total yards and the Grizzlies had 606 yards, including 549 rushing yards. Partridge had 11 carries for 235 yards for the Grizzlies. Trojans linebacker Nick Gordon had 17 tackles and an interception. Sipes, from his defensive back spot, had 12 tackles and defensive back Colton Giorgi had 11.
After the game, Trojan players and coaches huddled at the south end zone for Cavaliere and the assistant coaches’ final post-game speeches.
“This is the first time that this program has seen a Week 14,” Cavaliere said. “We knew what we had in spring football. A good group of guys who really wanted to play for each other.”
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.