- Granite Bay
football coach Ernie Cooper had an inclining his Grizzlies would play their best of the year on Friday night.
And senior tailback John Cooley
had an ultra good feeling heading in as well.
But neither probably anticipated a running clock. Not in the CIF Northern Regional Division I final.
The Grizzlies and Cooley followed their feelings and Granite Bay rolled to a surprisingly easy 45-17 victory over St. Ignatius before about 4,500 fans at Sacramento State.
Cooley, a shifty and strong 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior, rushed 24 times for 216 yards and a career high four touchdowns as the Grizzlies (12-3) won their 11th straight game and moved into next week's State Bowl finals against Long Beach Poly
, a 28-7 win over Clovis North.
Granite Bay had leads of 24-3 at halftime and was up 38-3 following a 52-yard interception return by Aaron Knapp late in the third quarter. The Grizzlies piled up 431 yards, gave up 226 (though 70 came on the game's final drive against Granite Bay's reserved), didn't commit a turnovers and had just four turnovers.
"We were pretty darned close to our best game of the year," Cooper said. "We didn't let up one bit tonight. I thought they played very, very well."
Good enough to be in the Open Division game? Even with three losses?
"I want to be in the Open Division," Cooley said. "I want to play De La Salle."
When told the Grizzlies would be getting Long Beach Poly instead, Cooley said. "Oh. I want to play them too."
Cooley scored on first-half runs of 23, 11 and 3 yards, then added a 19-yarder in the third quarter as Granite Bay not only impressed the fans in attendance, but the Wildcats on the field.
Just ask St. Ignatius quarterback Jack Stinn, who threw for 138 yards and two scores, the second, a 55-yarder to Joe Lang with 28 seconds left against Granite Bay's reserves.
"They were a difficult team — big, strong and fast,” said Stinn, who also completed a 4-yard TD pass to Andrew Vollert in the third quarter. “We just didn’t have an answer for them. We came out flat, and they took it and ran with it.”
Crisp, strong, deceptive, the Grizzlies are finely-tuned and efficient. This one was a mismatch from the start.
Granite Bay made a statement on its first two drives, running right past the Wildcats, going four plays and 68 yards and seven plays and 65 more yards while taking a 14-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
"When we scored on the first two drives, that ws the key to our whole game," Cooper said.
Said Cooley: "I didn't see (a lopsided win) coming. I really thought it was going to be a close game — until we went up 14-0. Then I felt pretty good."
Both drives were finished off by Cooley, who constantly bounced off potential tacklers while scoring on runs of 23 and 11 yards.
After going three-and-out on incomplete passes, the Wildcats went to the run and it paid off with a nifty 14-play, 70-yard drive finished off with a 31-yard field goal by Michael Capitolo
The drive proved to be St. Ignatius' best defense as it kept Granite Bay off the field for almost seven minutes. Elijah Dale
had four carries for 24 yards on the drive. But that was all St. Ignatius could pretty much muster for the half.
By halftime, Cooley had scored again on a 3-yard run and Colin Brown
drilled a 43-yard field goal, giving the Grizzlies a 24-3 lead.View the Qwixcore game log
After another Cooley score — a 19-yard run midway through the third quater, St. Ignatius (9-4) showed some life when a 65-yard kickoff return by Denis Shanagher
set up 4-yard touchdown pass from Stinn
to Andrew Vollert
with 2:28 left.
But Granite Bay quickly stomped it out and and zoomed right back down field with a 6-play, 65-yard drive capped with a 2-yard TD run by
That made it 45-10 heading into the fourth quarter, which started with a running clock due to the 35-point mercy rule. Stinn, who led St. Ignatius to its first Central Coast Section Open Division title with a 13-10 upset win over Bellarmine last week, said there's a silver lining in the lopsided loss.
"If you lose a close you're always thinking what you could have done or the game could have gone either way," said Stinn, who has accepted a baseball scholarship to Cal. "But this is a game we just got our (butts) kicked.
"It's been fun and awesome four years. We brought St. Ignatius its first Open Division title. Once this loss wears off in a couple days I'm sure we'll look back and hold our heads high."
For Cooper and the Grizzlies, there's one more week and one big giant challenge against a storied program that's produced more NFL players than any school in the country.
"This means we have another week and another game," Cooper said. "This is a grind. This is really hard. But with this group, I want to keep playing."
Granite Bay 45, St. Ignatius 17
St. Ignatius 0 3 7 7 — 17
Granite Bay14 3 21 7 — 45First quarter
GB — John Cooley 23 rn (Colin Brown), 10:27
GB — Cooley 11 run (Bron kick), 7:26
SI — FG, Capitola 31, 0:25Second quarter
GB — FG, Brown 43, 8:41
GB — Cooley 3 run (Brown kick), 0:43Third quarter
GB — Crowley 19 run (Brown kick), 4:37
GB — Aaron Knapp 52 interception return (Brown kick), 3:53
SI — Andrew Voller 4 pass from Jack Stinn (Capitola kick), 2:28
GB — Taft Partridge 2 run (Brown kick), 0:42Fourth quarter
SI — Joe Lang 55 pass from Stinn (Capitola kick), 0:28 RUSHING
SI — Elijah Dale 10-49, Stinn 4-17, Albert Waters 3-12, Brian Wollitz 2-9. Totals 21-88. Granite Bay — Cooley 24-206, Tony Ellison 8-47, Partridge 7-31, Granta Caraway 2-13. Totals 44-309. PASSING
SI — Stinn 13-29-1-138. GB — Caraway 6-11-0-122. RECEIVING
SI — Lang 5-79, Vollert 4-38, Connor Hulbert 1-15, Austen Molano 1-8. GB — Ellison 3-80, Partridge 2-33, Steven Graber 1-9. TACKLES
SI — Jack McGovern 13, Matt Emery 11, Denis Shanagher 8, Noah Bull 7. GB — Cameron Smith 11, Luke Bussey 5, Joey Blackwell 5, Hershberger 5. TEAM STATISTICS
First downs: SI 13, Granite Bay 22
Total plays/yards: SI 50-226, Granite Bay 55-431
Turnovers: SI 1, Granite Bay 0
Penalties: SI 2-18, Granite Bay 4-35
Time possession: SI 21:47, Granite Bay 26:13