The Gazette Granite Bay High School Granite Bay, CA
Issue Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009 Issue: 2009-10 Issue 2 Last Update: Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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GBHS varsity football faced Vacaville for a 31-13 Victory. GBHS senior Andrew Knapp returns a punt. - R Slater McLaughlin

   The tension on the sideline builds as the varsity football game against Vacaville heads into the fourth quarter. The score is 13-12, Vacaville.
   Coach Ernie Cooper paces back and forth, jaw clenched as he focuses on the talented offensive squad assembled on the line of scrimmage.
   Teammates and coaches intently watch as the play unfolds, waiting and watching for the right moment.
   The stadium stares intently as blocks are made, openings are found and a pass is completed.
   The Grizzlies score a touchdown that breaks open the game; a touchdown that will usher in 19 fourth quarter points to secure a victory and a thus far undefeated non-league record.
   The sideline erupts into cheering and celebrating as the Grizzlies get a glimpse of the season they’re hoping for—a season that achieves one thing that this team is fighting for: unity.

   In most respects, Cooper is approaching the Grizzlies’ 2009 football season just like any other season.
   The team will be looking to repeat a league championship and win the elusive section championship, a feat that appears daunting due to the loss of last years’ talented senior class.
   But the Grizzlies aren’t looking to live up to the legacy that previous years have set before them; they’re looking to create something new.
   “At the beginning of the year,” Cooper said, “I asked (the team) if they wanted to be remembered at Granite Bay for a few stand out players, or if they wanted to be remembered as the best team Granite Bay has ever had.”
   The Grizzlies’ plan for reaching this new level is simple: be a team.
   Cooper said that the players need to take this concept father than the field.
   “(Team unity) means not only playing well, but wearing their uniforms (to school on the day of the game) and bringing all their gear to be prepared,” he said.
   The team got off to a rough start at a senior retreat. The Grizzlies encountered disciplinary issues that started the season on a slightly sour note.
   “We had some trouble in the beginning,” GBHS junior Cory Brehm said. “But the team has overcome that.”
    Getting past the problems at camp was just another experience to make the team stronger and more prepared to face the years coming challenges.
   GBHS senior and half back, Devaunte Bolton noticed how much the players have bonded together.
   “The team is a lot closer than in the previous years,” he said. “We can go really far (this year).”
   GBHS sophomore and varsity quarterback Brendan Keeney is confident in the team’s potential.
   “I think we can win a section championship,” he said.
   The diversity of this year’s team has proven to be a unifying factor.
   In addition to a majority of juniors on the team, GBHS sophomore Keeney is joined by offensive linemen Gavin Andrews as rare sophomores on the varsity lineup.
   Even though Andrews and Keeney’s situation is exceptional, the football team has stayed away from changing its perspective or dynamics.
   “Their age doesn’t matter, and the upper classmen know that,” Cooper said. “They look at (Gavin and Brendan) as teammates, not as sophomores.”
   The apex of the Grizzlies’ year will be another chance at the section title. 
   “Hopefully we’ll build up momentum to carry us into the league season,” Brehm said.
   While Cooper is striving to build an exceptional team, he’s keeping the attitude that has brought the Grizzlies so much success, in spite of any changes to the roster.
   “I focus on the players we have this year and how we can make the team the best it can be,” Cooper said. “It always works out.”

Back to the articles list
  • Sophomore Brendan Keeney rolls out for a fourth quarter touchdown pass to senior Clay Sears.
    By R Slater McLaughlin
  • Number 5, Devaunte Bolton, charges down the field in GBHS’ Sept. 25 game against Vacaville High School.
    By R Slater McLaughlin

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