Evan Tattersall said he likes to keep the train rolling and if he has a couple of opposing defensive backs along for the ride, then that’s great. On Friday, he made them pay for the ride when it mattered most.
Tattersall and Granite Bay led 9-7 on third down and 10, deep in Del Campo territory with under two minutes remaining. Another first down and their Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinal would likely end. Punt and who knows what the prolific scoring Cougars could do, especially with a good kicker in Jacob Rhea.
The play call was a no brainer: all aboard the Tattersall train.
“We ran some lead rights a bunch of times in a row and then hit them with a counter, and it worked,” Tattersall said. “I can fall forward pretty well and never want to go out of bounds. The (Cougars) I carried were all DBs and corners. Whatever. But I had my line pushing me, too. They’re big. They’re strong and I’m proud to call them my O-line.”
Tattersall ran for 16 yards, got the first down, helped run out the clock to salt away the 9-7 victory over the fourth-seeded Cougars and ran the No. 1 Grizzlies right into the D-II section final next Saturday against Sierra Foothill League foe No. 7 Del Oro, which beat No. 3 Central Catholic, 23-12.
The Cougars threatened an upset from the start.
Two plays into the game, Del Campo’s David Joseph picked up a fumble and ran to the Grizzlies’ 1-yard line. Three plays later Willie Johnson plunged in to open the scoring. Granite Bay’s Brennan Holt answered with a 30-yard field goal.
In the third quarter of a defensive battle, Del Campo stripped a Granite Bay ballcarrier, stalling a deep drive. But Del Campo gave up the ball two plays later and Jake Foddrill hit a wide-open Matt Barron for a 10-yard touchdown with less than three minutes left in the third quarter. That proved to be the game winner. Then it was a heavy dose of Tattersall on the tracks with linemen such as Joseph Young and Will Craig leading the way. Both Tattersall and Craig have committed to play at Cal next season.
Del Campo coach Mike Dimino said the Grizzlies’ offensive line wore down his defensive line, which was a first. The Cougars finished 12-1, marking their most in a season and their 538 total points were by far the most in school history, Dimino said. Del Campo was searching for its first section final appearance since it won the D-III title in 2009. The Cougars also won the Div-III title in 2006 under Dimino.
“Their line was best we faced all season – by far,” Dimino said. “Normally our line wears people down, but I started seeing it in the second half when our line wasn’t getting any push. (Craig) is legit. I’m going to guess they had the ball about 75 or 80 percent of the game.”
The Cougars beat No. 13 Buhach Colony 50-21 in the first round and survived four overtimes to beat Sacramento, 49-48, last week.
Granite Bay reached the semis by outscoring Burbank and Antelope 79-20. The Grizzles got the division’s top seed despite two losses. Those losses were to the top two seeds in D-I in Folsom (35-14 loss) and Oak Ridge (14-7 in overtime).
Granite Bay is playing in its sixth section final having won the D-I title in 2011 and 2012, and D-II titles in 1999, 2000 and 2007. The Grizzles won the D-I state championship in 2012, beating Long Beach Poly 21-20.
They’re very familiar with the Golden Eagles, who are a stone’s throw over Interstate 80 in Loomis. The Grizzlies beat the Golden Eagles 28-21 on Sept. 22 in Loomis. Tattersall rushed for 73 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
“We can’t focus on that we beat them earlier this year,” Tattersall said. “They always get hot this time of the season. We kept it simple against them the first time. But, yeah, we’re excited. They’re our rivals. That’s even better.”
Related stories from Sacramento Bee
Granite Bay 9, Del Campo 7
Del Campo (12-1) 7 0 0 0 – 7
Granite Bay (11-2) 3 0 6 0 – 9
DC – Johnson 1 run (Rhea kick)
GB – Holt 30 field goal
GB – Barron 10 pass from Foddrill (kick fail)