Friday NorCal Bowls: Granite Bay, Central Catholic roll

Central Catholic of Modesto head coach Roger Canepa talks to the media after his team's win over McClymonds of Oakland in the CIF Division IV Northern California regional bowl game.

Central Catholic of Modesto head coach Roger Canepa talks to the media after his team’s win over McClymonds of Oakland in the CIF Division IV Northern California regional bowl game.

Grizzlies end up with a 45-17 blowout against St. Ignatius compared to 42-12 for the Raiders as both teams advance to next week’s CIF state bowl games.

Writeups by Paul Muyskens, Mark Tennis
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Unlike last weekend at Sacramento State, there was no rain to be seen from the sky. St. Ignatius of San Francisco, however, had to feel like it started pouring on them early and often in a 45-17 defeat at the hands of Granite Bay.

The Grizzlies, who were leading 14-0 before the CIF Central Coast Section Open Division champions had even gained a yard on offense, earned their way to Carson next Friday for their first-ever CIF state bowl game.

“It is another week. We got another game. With this group, I want to keep playing,“ said Granite Bay head coach Ernie Cooper after the game. “We prepared all year to play our best game tonight and I thought we were pretty darn close to our best game.”

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Grizzlies (12-3) needed just four plays to go 68 yards for the game’s opening score as John Cooley set the stage for what was to come as he scored on a 23-yard run.

Three straight incompletions by the Wildcats (10-4) gave the Grizzlies the ball back quickly and they once again found the end zone as Cooley capped a seven play drive that went 65 yards in just 2:29 with an 11-yard touchdown.

St. Ignatius finally netted its first yards of the game on a nice drive that went nearly seven minutes before having to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Michael Capitolo in the final minute of the first quarter.

A 43-yard field goal by Grizzlies’ kicker Colin Brown extended the lead before they took advantage of a poor punt to score in the final minute of the half. Cooley got the honor as he scored his third touchdown of the half with a three-yard run to push the lead to 24-3.

Cooley continued his dominance in the third quarter as he ran for another 100 yards and the opening score of the second half. He finished with 206 yards and four touchdowns on the night.

Then less than a minute after Cooley’s fourth score, senior Aaron Knapp intercepted a pass and took it 52 yards down the sideline for a score and a 38-3 lead.

“It was scary at first (to start 1-3) but we are destined to win state,” said Cooley after the game. “All week he (Coach Cooper) said we are a special team and he said we are the best team to ever come through Granite Bay. It shows now.

“I’m speechless (on getting to go to Carson next week). I hope we get to play Long Beach Poly.”

And if there’s one team from Southern California that started slow but has turned it on in the last few weeks like Granite Bay it’s Long Beach Poly.

Mack no match for Central Catholic

Entering Friday’s CIF Division IV Northern California regional championship at Lincoln of Stockton, Central Catholic of Modesto head coach Roger Canepa was a bit worried if his team would approach its matchup against McClymonds of Oakland with the same intensity as when the Raiders blew out longtime local nemesis Escalon 52-10 in last week’s CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV final.

“I was scared of a letdown, but when we needed to go we got going,” said Canepa, whose team advanced to its second CIF state bowl game by throttling McClymonds 42-12.

In Carson next Friday, Central Catholic is facing Santa Fe Christian of Solana Beach (10-3). Santa Fe Christian defeated Rio Hondo Prep of Arcadia 30-28 in the D4 South regional final.

It didn’t take long for the Raiders (13-2) to get going, either. They were given a huge jolt of adrenalin on the opening kickoff when Rey Vega reversed direction and went 80 yards before being tackled on the 5-yard line. Ray Lomas then scored two plays later on a 5-yard run and the rout was on.

Vega hit paydirt on a 6-yard run a few minutes later after McClymonds (9-4) fumbled on its first series. A 40-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Ardis to Johnny Mundt followed and by halftime the lead had grown to 35-0.

McClymonds, which was making the first-ever appearance by an Oakland Section school in a CIF football bowl game, gave its hearty fans a thrill in the fourth quarter by scoring on a pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Keith Williams to senior receiver Lavon Washington. The second of those TDs went for 95 yards, probably the longest TD pass play in a CIF bowl game ever.

Canepa, who is in his fifth season since taking over the program from CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Famer Mike Glines, says getting the Raiders back to the CIF bowl games has been a major goal from the beginning.

“We’re going to catch our breath, have a little fun tonight and then get ready to play a week from today,” he said. “It’s exciting to go back for the school and because of what Coach Glines started.”

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