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Grizzlies top Thunder 40-13

By: Russ Edmondson, The Placer Herald
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Granite Bay High topped host Rocklin 40-13 Friday night but it was a very competitive battle for most of the game. The Grizzlies led 7-6 at halftime and 21-13 with 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter when senior fullback Clark Partridge ran in a five-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 27-13. Granite Bay then scored two late touchdowns to seal the victory. Partridge had another five-yard touchdown run with 2:14 left and back-up quarterback Mike Borgesi had a 25-yard scoring run with 47 seconds left in the game. Partridge finished the game with 24 carries for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He did most of his damage in the second half, running 15 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns. “He’s an all-section player and as tough as they come,” Granite Bay coach Ernie Cooper said. Granite Bay is now 7-0 overall and 2-0 in Sierra Foothill League play while Rocklin is 2-5 and 0-2. “I hate that score. But I love our guys and I was proud of how we played,” Rocklin coach Greg Benzel said. “And we demonstrated a lot of passion and unity. To beat Granite Bay you have to be perfect and a few things didn’t go our way.” Rocklin received the opening kickoff and marched 85 yards in 5:21 to go up 6-0. Sophomore quarterback Jimmy Laughrea was 6-for-6 passing on the drive for 75 yards and he closed the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior Holden Huff. Rocklin missed the extra point. Granite Bay responded with a long drive of its own, 66 yards in 6:37, and Partridge closed it with a two-yard run. That score came on the first play of the second quarter and there was no more scoring for the rest of the half as the Grizzlies led 7-6. The Grizzlies started the second half with the ball and scored on a 46-yard pass from Teddy Bryant to Austin Nash three minutes in the quarter. Six minutes later Granite Bay scored again as Corey Vanderbeek returned a punt for a touchdown to make the score 21-6. A referee originally threw a flag for clipping on the play but it was eventually waived off. Rocklin didn’t give up though as junior running back Jackson Cummings scored on a 52-yard run with one minute left in the third quarter to make the score 21-13. Cummings, who has battled a groin injury all season, finished the night with 16 carries for 124 yards and one touchdown. He also played a few plays on defense at safety. The Grizzlies responded by going on an 85-yard drive in about seven minutes, with Partridge getting the ball on most of the plays. He eventually scored with 6:20 left in the game to put Granite Bay up by 14 points. “We played as hard as we could. We were without Brandon (Barone, who missed the game with an injury) and he is a force on the d-line,” said Rocklin senior Elliot Thompson. “And we played hard. Definitely those long drives (especially the 85-yard drive in the fourth quarter) were a little draining. “We will totally forget this. There are three playoff teams from the SFL and we still have a chance. We’re totally going for this.” Rocklin impressed Cooper, whose team went into the game ranked 10th in the state by calhisports.com. “We knew this game was going to be our toughest game to date and that’s no disrespect to anyone else we’ve played,” Cooper said. “We were coming off an emotional win (over Del Oro) last week and we knew it was going to be a tough game. We played good, grinding football in the second half.” Neither team had a turnover until Granite Bay recovered a fumbled punt with two minutes remaining in the game. Laughrea, who was the quarterback for Granite Bay’s freshmen team last season, was 13-of-23 passing for 152 yards and a touchdown. His top target was Huff, who caught four passes for 54 yards and a score. “He was a hard worker (at Granite Bay) and our kids know how hard he worked,” said Cooper about Laughrea. “And we were excited to be able to watch him play. I think the world of him and I’m happy for him. Our kids respect him.” Bryant finished 9-of-16 passing for 98 yards and a touchdown and he also ran three times for 38 yards. Aj Herlitz caught four passes for 32 yards and Nash caught three for 56 and a touchdown. Granite Bay won the junior varsity game 29-9.