With dozens of parents and students forming a spirited send-off committee in the school parking lot, the Granite Bay High School football team left early this morning for Carson, where the Grizzlies will play Long Beach Poly in the CIF State Division I title game Friday night.
The Granite Bay players, tousled but with alert eyes, began gathering outside the school around 6:15 a.m. The school's cheer team waved signs of "Go Grizzlies" and "Let's Go Boys!" Music blared from the stereo of an open SUV while supporters cheered and wished the team luck in its first state bowl appearance.
It will be the second bowl appearance for Long Beach Poly, which lost in the State Open Bowl to Grant High in 2008. Both teams are riding 11-game winning streaks.
"We were all happy this was our last week of practice, but I think we were happier because it was our last week of practice the right way," said Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper. "You can't go any further than this."
Granite Bay is planning on sending most of its marching band and cheer team to the game at the Home Depot Center in Carson, a school official said. Two buses carrying the team pulled away from the school around 7 a.m., following a fire engine with a Grinch doll strapped to its front grill.