Brian Baer Special to The Bee Granite Bay's John Cooley (5) celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown that put the Grizzlies up 27-14 over Rocklin, which later tied the score.

No. 6 Granite Bay tops No. 10 Rocklin in double overtime

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 - 12:05 pm

Twists and turns, ups and downs, drama and despair and white-knuckle anxiety?

Yes, your typical Sierra Foothill League roller coaster unfolded Friday night, and it's also the same general theme for the football teams for Rocklin and Granite Bay, spirited Placer County rivals.

The Bee-ranked No. 6 Grizzlies outlasted host No. 10 Rocklin 41-34 in double overtime for the program's third straight win after a 1-3 start.

The Grizzlies (4-4, 2-0) used two defensive touchdowns in regulation and surged ahead for good in the second overtime on quarterback Grant Caraway's two-yard plunge. The first-year varsity starter who had the challenging task of replacing three-year starter Brendan Keeney also had a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tony Ellison for his team's first score and found John Cooley for a five-yard touchdown in the first overtime.

Luke Bussey and Aaron Knapp returned interceptions 30 and 55 yards, respectively, for Granite Bay, which overcame a gutsy effort by Rocklin junior quarterback Logan Webb, who passed for 289 yards and five touchdowns, two to Spencer Gregg. Webb lost the ball on a scramble in the second overtime, and seemingly every Granite Bay defender fell on it. Rocklin is 3-4 and 1-1.

Granite Bay's early humble pie setbacks to state-ranked powers Westlake (24-6) and Oaks Christian (48-13) has gone a long way in molding this outfit, Grizzlies coach Ernie Cooper said this week.

"We've seen every imaginable situation against some really good competition," Cooper said. "We hope the experiences help us out, help us grow. That was the master plan in a sense."

Now the plan is to keep up the momentum with a three-game winning streak heading back home next week against some old friends from Loomis in Del Oro.

The Golden Eagles have also overcome a brutal schedule and early losses to keep pace with Granite Bay with a 2-0 start in the SFL.

What's more, Granite Bay players such as defensive leader Beau Hershberger, a linebacker/defensive end, remembers a close loss at Del Oro last year, a game in which he returned an interception 94 yards for a touchdown.

Then again, Granite Bay never looked back from that setback, winning its final six games, culminating in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I championship. Del Oro won the D-III title.

Caraway has been solid if not spectacular this season, Cooper said, reminding his young leader he doesn't have to set passing marks, just move the chains and win games.

"He's really coming on, and we're really happy with him," Cooper said.

"He's much more comfortable with some games under his belt."

On his Grizzlies in general, Cooper said, "We're not the creme de la creme, but we're a pretty good high school football team."

And it was another good high school game. Since Granite Bay opened, the one constant on its schedule has been Rocklin. Friday marked the 16th consecutive meeting.

"We've had some great battles with them," Rocklin coach Greg Benzel said. "It's always good with them."

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