Del Oro knocks off Granite Bay
The legend of the Granite Bay-Del Oro High school football rivalry lives, as the formidable foes engaged in another battle Friday night in Granite Bay.
Del Oro junior defensive back Russell Smith intercepted a Brendan Keeney pass with 1:37 left to put the Golden Eagles in the driver’s seat, and they pounded for a first down to seal a 24-21 victory.
Del Oro, 2-4 at one point this season, evened its record at 4-4 overall and improved to 2-1 in the Sierra Foothill League. Granite Bay is 5-3 overall and 2-1 in the SFL.
Kicker Skyler Rand gave Del Oro the lead with a 25-yard field goal with 2:54 left. The game-changing play was made earlier in the fourth period when Nick O’Sullivan intercepted Keeney and ran 11 yards to the end zone with 9:23 left. O’Sullivan scored all of Del Oro’s touchdowns, including two on the ground.
“Our defense played great,” Del Oro coach Casey Taylor said. “That’s a great Granite Bay team, and to hold them to 21 points is really impressive. Those turnovers were huge for us. We made them work for everything. We did a great job on first-down runs and forced them into some passing situations. Kids kept battling. They were battling the whole 48 minutes.”
O’Sullivan may have scored all the fantasy points, but Del Oro’s rushing game was a two-headed monster in disguise. Kenny Andri contributed 160 yards to O’Sullivan’s 105, giving them 265 total. Offensive linemen Ryan Cope, Dustin Mollard, Rock Slatter, Adrian Garibaldo and Ken Anderson teamed up with tight end Alex Bertrando to set the tone.
“The running game was tremendous,” Taylor said. “In the first half, we didn’t have a lot of good field position so the possessions stalled out, but we stayed right on course and worked them down to the fourth quarter. Nick O’Sullivan was great, and Kenny Andri coming back really gave us a spark. On offense, we wanted to keep them off the field as much as possible, and I thought we did a good job of that in the second half.”
Del Oro’s big finish included a 17-point fourth quarter. Granite Bay led 21-7 after three periods and had two solid drives. The first took only four plays thanks to a 50-yard pass to Tanner Holt. Center Josh Calton and guard Trevor Upton cleared the lane for an easy Danny Thomas score on a seven-yard run.
The Grizzlies’ second drive showcased their passing attack again, when Michael Bertolino snagged a 16-yard slant route and took a vicious hit from safety Max Magleby. Cory Pierce scored on a 12-yard screen pass.
“I felt pretty good when we came out and scored on our first two drives of the second half,” Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper said. “We went right down the field and scored two touchdowns. Then, we kind of made some mistakes after that and that was the game.”
“We had a tough start coming off the beginning of the year,” Taylor said. “People were writing us off, but we stayed the course and got everybody on the ship. Our guys stepped up. We are very proud, proud that we came out tonight and got it done.”
Granite Bay 17, Del Oro 0 – The Grizzlies recorded five sacks in shutting out the Golden Eagles. The first half was sloppy with three interceptions, but Granite Bay kicked a field goal before intermission and rushed for two touchdowns to seal the deal.
Del Oro 24, Granite Bay 21
Del Oro 0 0 7 17 – 24
Granite Bay 0 7 14 0 -- 21
GB – Bertolino 35 pass from Keeney (Campbell kick)
GB – Thomas 7 run (Campbell kick)
DO – O’Sullivan 2 run (Rand kick)
GB – Pierce 12 pass from Keeney (Campbell kick)
DO – O’Sullivan 1 run (Rand kick)
DO – O’Sullivan 11 interception return
DO – FG Rand 25
RUSHING – Granite Bay, Thomas 11-36, Brehm 7-61, Keeney 4-43. Del Oro, O’Sullivan 31-105, Andri 15-160.
PASSING – Granite Bay, Keeney 14-30-2, 214. Del Oro, Heatherington 5-7-0, 43.
RECEIVING – Granite Bay, Brehm 7-72, Holt 3-79, Bertolino 2-51, Pierce 1-12. Del Oro, Bertrando 3-27, Thomas 2-16.