Week One of the “Redemption Tour” got off to a fine start Friday as No. 3 Granite Bay beat No. 2 Jesuit 31-21 on Friday night.
The Grizzlies finished 4-7 last season and that bad taste of a subpar season, at least around these parts, remained over the offseason, in the weight room, through summer workouts, and up until the final horn sounded in Granite Bay.
“We just didn’t like the way we played last season,” senior running back and outside linebacker Evan Tattersall said. “The outcome of last season wasn’t what we wanted and the word for this season was ‘Redemption.’ ”
Grizzlies coach Jeff Evans mentioned the word several times in his postgame speech to his happy team, dressed in all black – a first for the storied foothills program that is seeking its 19th consecutive playoff appearance. The new jerseys were a gift from several donors, Evans said, and were revealed as a surprise to the team Thursday morning as they gathered for the traditional ceremony to affix the large G stickers to their helmets.
“We usually go green on green for home games, but we’ve always wanted black on black,” Tattersall said. “We came out in all green for warmups and then went back in and changed to the all black. We wanted to keep it a secret.”
Grizzlies gamesmanship or intimidation factor? Either way, three first-half turnovers put the Marauders into a deep hole.
Two of those turnovers were converted into first-quarter scores by Tattersall – a 2-yard and 1-yard plunge.
Jesuit’s Isaiah Rutherford sprinted 85 yards for a score, but aside from that, Will Craig, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound two-way lineman, and the Grizzlies’ defense limited the Marauders to just 204 yards.
Granite Bay had 15 starters return from last season. Jesuit returned 12 starters, including middle linebacker Jason Gallagher and running back Lorenzo Burkes, both 225-pound bruisers.
“You can have all the right pieces but you still have to put them together just right,” Jesuit coach Marlon Blanton said. “We’re excited to see where we are.”
Jesuit has a tough first third of the season. Next week the Marauders host No. 1 Folsom in a rare 5 p.m. Friday night game. Folsom beat Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 56-33 Friday and were leading 56-8 at the half. Jesuit then plays rival Christian Brothers in the annual Holy Bowl.
“We get right into it; there’s no secret there,” Blanton said.
The Redemption Tour continues next Friday for Granite Bay with a short trip to Rocklin to play at Whitney, a team that lost its head coach last week to Sac-Joaquin Section rules violations, and then hosts St. Mary’s of Albany on Sept. 8.
“Our kids weren’t satisfied with what they did last season,” Evans said. “They felt they were better than that, and we’ll prove it to ourselves.”