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Whitney tops Golden Sierra 49-9 in non-league game

Graves scores five touchdowns
By: Chayla Furlong Special to The Placer Herald
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The Whitney High Wildcats took care of business again Friday night as they defeated the Golden Sierra Grizzlies 49-9 in their final home game of the regular season. Running back Zack Graves led the charge for Whitney with a total of five touchdowns and 147 rushing yards, while teammate Taylor Irwin added one touchdown and 48 rushing yards. Quarterback Charlie Hetland stepped up as well with some crucial completions and threw for a total of 73 yards, finding wide receiver Jake Snyder for a 37-yard pass. Additionally, cornerback Dominic Pasquale returned a kickoff about 80 yards for a touchdown and had a one-handed interception that led to another Whitney touchdown in the second half. Eric Judd was five for six in extra-point attempts in his first game back for the Wildcats since breaking his neck in spring ball. The first quarter was scoreless for the Wildcats as the Grizzlies slowed down the game and maintained their initial possession for eight minutes. The Grizzlies game plan consisted of several short but successful rushes that slowly progressed them up the field, and Whitney head coach Mike Gimenez said it took his players a little time to settle in to the game. “The offense they play, it kind of grinds the clock down and it gives a weird feel to the game,” he said. “They are getting three and four yards and you don’t think they’re getting much, and next thing you know they’re up the field. “Their first drive was exactly what they wanted, it was eight minutes and it took us a while to get adjusted to that.” Though the Grizzlies scored a field goal on their first possession, the Wildcats dominated the rest of the game. The second quarter Whitney boasted four touchdowns from Graves, and Whitney junior defensive end Jon Cardenas recovered a kickoff to set-up one of Graves’ touchdowns. The Wildcats led 28-3 at the half. After the break, Pasquale had his return for the fifth Whitney touchdown. Soon thereafter, Graves scored his own fifth and Whitney’s sixth touchdown with a 31-yard run. Once Pasquale intercepted the ball, Hetland made a quick pitch to Irwin, which brought in the seventh and final Whitney touchdown of the game. Golden Sierra, whose team is only 25 players deep, was able to complete once more in the second half with a touchdown from Cameron Chappell. The extra point was blocked by Wildcats cornerback Ryan Schermerhorn. “It feels good to win,” said Pasquale, who won the Whitney “Lunchbox” award for the player of the game. “The team played good: defense, offense, special teams. We did good all around.”