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Prep football notes: Granite Bay's Briare stars on both sides of ball

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011 - 3:07 pm

Ernie Cooper couldn't stand to watch, so the Granite Bay High School football coach took a knee and turned away, letting the crowd's reaction tell the story.

What he missed Friday night was a game-changing goal-line stand by his Grizzlies at top-seeded Lincoln of Stockton in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal.

On first and goal, linebacker Spencer Briare shot in from the right side of the line and dropped the Trojans' JoJo Bones for a three-yard loss to the 4, stalling Lincoln's momentum.

Briare also assisted on a second-down tackle, and Lincoln never got into the end zone. Granite Bay escaped with a 28-21 triumph to earn a date with defending champion Pleasant Grove on Saturday afternoon at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium.

"Spencer Briare is one of the top players in the section," Cooper said Sunday. "What a great stop. Of course, I couldn't watch, but when I heard the crowd from our side react, I knew it was OK to look again."

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Briare said his big tackle "was a collision."

He grinned Sunday at the notion he's a rare Grizzlies player who plays both ways (Cooper likes to platoon). Briare played every snap Friday at linebacker and tight end.

Briare is a senior captain with fellow three-year starters Gavin Andrews, a lineman, and Brendan Keeney, a quarterback who hit Taft Partridge for two of his three touchdown passes Friday.

Briare has received recruiting interest from Boise State, Colorado, Colorado State and Nevada. He has a fan in grandfather Vince Briare, who played guard for USF in the 1940s and is a regular at Granite Bay games. Keeney also is a big fan.

"When Lincoln got to the 1, I was thinking, 'OK, let them score so I can get out there and drive us down for the winning touchdown,' " Keeney recalled. "Then when Spencer made the stop, I thought, 'OK, let's stop them and take the pressure off the offense!' "

Dominating Dunn – Talk about making up for lost time. Pleasant Grove senior linebacker-tight end D.J. Dunn is in just his second season of organized football. The 6-3, 220-pounder, recently named the Delta River League's Defensive Player of the Year, is lauded by his coaches and fellow seniors, such as quarterback Cody Demps and lineman Arik Armstead, for his pursuit to the ball and ability to run over people.

His next challenge will include Briare and company.

"Never thought about football until last year, and I'm so glad to be playing with these guys," Dunn said, adding he has a 3.7 grade-point average with recruiting interest from Air Force and Utah State, among others.

Bulldog terrors – Folsom returned two starting linemen, Travis Walker and Jordan Alleva, from last season's state title team. They have protected record-setting passer Tanner Trosin, who is preparing for Vacaville in a Division II championship game.

Folsom's other starting offensive linemen are Mark Meyer, Yuvraaj Madra and Sukchan Gill.

"Travis has been phenomenal – Jordan, too," Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. "Jordan's our rough-tough mauler, the tough guy of the group."

In the running – L.J. Upshire of Bradshaw Christian finished his prep career with another monster effort: 171 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 62-6 victory over Foresthill in the D-VI title game Saturday in Lodi.

Upshire, a senior, had an area-record 421 rushing yards in a 61-40 semifinal win over Ripon Christian.

SAC-JOAQUIN SECTION FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS

FRIDAY

Division III championship

At Sacramento State

No. 1 Oakdale (13-0) vs. No. 2 Del Oro (12-1), 7:30 p.m.

Division IV championship

At Lincoln-Stockton

No. 1 Escalon (13-0) vs. No. 3 Hilmar (11-2), 7 p.m.

SATURDAY

Division I championship

At Sacramento State

No. 2 Pleasant Grove (12-1) vs. No. 5 Granite Bay (11-2), 1 p.m.

Division II championship

At Sacramento State

No. 4 Vacaville (12-1) vs. No. 6 Folsom (11-2), 7:30 p.m.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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