By Bill Paterson
No. 5 Granite Bay had a season for the ages last year.
The Grizzlies repeated as Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champions by topping No. 4 Oak Ridge 35-23; beat St. Ignatius of San Francisco 45-17 in the first CIF Northern California Regional championship, then trimmed Long Beach Poly 21-20 for the D-I State Bowl title in Carson.
But the Grizzlies have suffered a couple of sizeable blows since. Ernie Cooper, Granite Bay's only coach in school history, abruptly resigned early in June, citing burnout.
Then in the fourth game of the season against Pittsburg, Arizona-bound star running back Tony Ellison went down with a season-ending knee injury.
Still, Granite Bay keeps moving along even while battling adversity.
On Friday the Grizzlies overcame 210 yards in penalties and rallied to defeat No. 16 Roseville 40-28 in the Sierra Foothill League opener in Roseville.
The win was the fifth in a row for Granite Bay (5-1, 1-0) under interim coach Skip Albano.
Granite Bay, ranked No. 8 in Northern California, trailed the Tigers (3-3, 0-1) by a point at the half, but battled back on a pair of Ben Smith rushing touchdowns; a 22-yard touchdown run by Kirk McKeon and a Luke Bussey interception return for a touchdown. It was Bussey's second interception of the game.
In other games:
No. 2 Elk Grove 46, Laguna Creek 6 at Elk Grove - Wadus Parker rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns, Spencer Sheff rushed for 75 and a score and Tommie Arnold hit Ryan Robards for a 49-yard touchdown for the Thundering Herd (6-0, 1-0) in a Delta Valley Conference opener against the Cardinals (1-5, 0-1). Shaunard Harts returned an interception 99 yards for a touchdown for Elk Grove, which plays host to No. 7 Grant next week.
No. 3 Pleasant Grove 63, Sheldon 21 at Sheldon HS - Ian Broom rushed for 216 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries; Dre Terrell hit 5 of 6 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a touchdown; and Esley Simmons returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown as the Eagles (6-0, 1-0) defeated the Huskies (3-3, 0-1) in the Delta River League opener. Wyatt Demps also had a 96-yard touchdown reception and defensive lineman Earl Chism had 9.5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and caused a fumble.
No. 6 Del Oro 41, Woodcreek 6 in Roseville - Dylan Kainrath rushed for four touchdowns, including a 65-yarder, and Michael Moore threw touchdown passes of 50 and 58 yards to Trey Udoffia and Tyler Meteer, respectively, as the Golden Eagles (4-2, 1-0) defeated the Timberwolves (2-4, 0-1) in the SFL opener.
No. 7 Grant 30, No. 15 Franklin 20 in Elk Grove - Patrick Walker's one-yard touchdown tied the game for the Wildcats (3-3, 01) at 20-20 with 2:36 to play in the third quarter, but the Pacers (4-2, 1-0) later scored the game winner in the DVC opener for both.
No. 8 Burbank 63, Florin 6 at Monterey Trail HS - Washington State verbal commit Calvin Green returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown then intercepted passes to set up 13- and 44-yard first-quarter touchdown runs by Ernest Jenkins and Ben Jones, respectively, as the Titans (4-2, 3-0) cruised to victory over the Panthers (2-4, 1-2) in the Metro Conference game.
No. 9 Rocklin 55, Nevada Union 7 in Rocklin - Blake Laurin caught three touchdown passes, two from quarterback Logan Webb; and Evyn Holtz rushed for two touchdowns and Josh Gurnaby returned a kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown as the Thunder (4-2, 1-0) won its Sierra Foothill League opener and kept the Miners winless (0-6, 0-1).
No. 10 Rio Linda 41, Bella Vista 7 in Fair Oaks - Marcel Brown rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries and fullback-linebacker Leo Skattebo had 82 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and also 11 tackles to lead the Knights (5-1, 1-0) over the Broncos (2-4, 0-1) in the Capital Valley Conference opener.
No. 11 Jesuit 35, Ponderosa 7 in Shingle Springs - Ben Parietti rushed for three touchdowns and Isaiah Bailey had two sacks to lead the Marauders (6-0, 1-0) over the Bruins (4-2, 0-1) in the Delta River League opener.
No. 13 Inderkum 27, No. 12 Yuba City 18 in Yuba City - C.J. Spencer hit Khalil Hudson for two touchdown passes and Marcus Gilbert ran for 166 yards and a score as the Tigers (4-2, 1-0) exacted a measure of revenge in beating the Honkers (5-1, 0-1) in the Tri-County Conference opener. Yuba City beat Inderkum 49-42 in a wild affair last season to capture their first league title since 1987 and unseated the five-time defending champion Tigers.
No. 14 Casa Roble 35, Del Campo 32 in Orangevale - Peyton Wilfley passed for 289 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 88 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown as the Rams won in another classic between the two longtime San Juan school district rivals. The winner of this game has traditionally gone on to win the the league title. In the previous 11 years, Del Campo (1-5, 0-1) has won seven titles; Casa Roble (5-1, 1-0) has won four championships.
No. 19 Colfax 28, No. 20 Bear River 21 in Lake of the Pines - Tim Rawlins scored the game winner on a 32-yard run with 1:43 to play as the Falcons (6-0, 1-0) topped the Bruins (5-1, 0-1) in a battle of unbeatens.
Placer 56, Foothill 14 in Foothill Farms - Todd Valliere had 139 rushing yards, 86 receiving yards and four touchdowns - all in the first half - to lead the Hillmen over the Mustangs in the Pioneer Valley League opener.
Vista del Lago 47, River City 7 in West Sacramento - Matt Jimison rushed for five touchdowns and threw 60- and 5-yard touchdown passes to Tyler Kaim to lead the Eagles (5-2, 2-1) past the Raiders (3-4, 2-1) in the Sierra Valley Conference game.
Whitney 55, Mira Loma 7 - Drew Romo completed 7 of 9 passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns; Jordan Traynor, Kwane Wilkinson and Marcus Robinson each rushed for a touchdown and Jack Brocchini returned a punt 45 yards for a score to lead the Wildcats (3-3, 1-0) over the Matadors (0-6, 0-2) in the Capital Athletic League opener.
Lincoln 21, Center 12 in Lincoln - Dane Stimbert rushed for two touchdowns and Aaron Soto had four sacks as the Fighting Zebras (5-1, 1-0) downed the Cougars (3-3, 0-1) in the Pioneer Valley League opener.
Christian Brothers 35, Oakmont 19 at Sacramento City College - Brandon Thompson caught touchdown passes of 21 and 23 yards from Chris Guillen and returned interceptions 33 and 23 yards for scores as the Falcons (4-2, 1-0) defeated the Vikings (2-4, 1-2) in the CVC opener.
Cosumnes Oaks 63, Galt 0 in Galt - Alex Kropp completed 7 of 8 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns and Devon Griffin and Michael McKinnie returned fumbles for touchdowns as the Wolfpack (4-2, 2-0) downed the Warriors (1-5, 0-2) in a Sierra Valley Conference contest.
Antelope 10, El Camino 6 at El Camino HS - Titus Vinson rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries; Mister Harriel had 100 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries and Joe Estrada kicked a 30-yard field goal and PAT as the Titans (4-2, 1-0) slipped past the Eagles (3-3, 0-1) in the CAL opener.
Valley 15, Kennedy 0 in Greenhaven - Thaddeus Turner ran for a touchdown and hit Devonte Robinson for a touchdown pass, and the defense rejoiced in its best effort in years as the Vikings (1-5, 1-1) prevailed in a Metropolitan Conference game, spoiling the Cougars' homecoming. Valley came in having lost 47 of 49 games. Kennedy (0-6, 0-3) has lost 27 consecutive games.
Capital Christian 38, Dixon 14 in Dixon - Justice Shelton-Mosely rushed for touchdowns of 79, 15 and 9 yards, giving him 18 touchdowns for the year, as the Cougars (5-1, 1-0) defeated the Rams (2-4, 0-1) in a Golden Empire League contest.
Marysville 35, Mesa Verde 13 in Marysville - Aaron Birch rushed for touchdowns of 61 and 34 yards and threw a two-yard touchdown pass to David Duncan as the Indians (4-2, 1-0) topped the Mavericks (1-5, 0-1) in a GEL game. Duncan also returned an interception 33 yards for a touchdown.
River Valley 23, Pioneer 6 in Woodland - T.J. Dove's 69-yard touchdown run put him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season as the Falcons (4-2, 1-0) defeated the Patriots (3-3, 0-1) in the TCC opener.
Highlands 13, San Juan 7 in Citrus Heights (Thursday) - Iszir Price returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Junior Jenkins to lead the Scots (2-5, 2-1) over the Spartans (3-3, 0-2) in a Sierra Delta League game.
Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, 326-5506. The Bee's Joe Davidson and correspondent Trevor Horn contributed to this report.