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Oak Ridge eliminated by Granite Bay

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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A solid if not spectacular season came to an end on Friday night when Oak Ridge High’s varsity football team lost to Granite Bay in the second round of the playoffs. The underdog Trojans gave the Grizzlies all they had, staying in the game all the way until the end when a late Granite Bay touchdown sealed their fate, as the Trojans finished the season with a 7-5 record and a 21-12 loss to Granite Bay. Oak Ridge played its best football early, as the Trojans held a 6-0 lead after the first quarter, but in the end the lead should have been a lot bigger and it cost them. “We made a few mistakes early where we had three opportunities to score touchdowns and have a 21-0 lead, but came away with one,” Oak Ridge coach Eric Cavaliere said. “We got into the red zone three times and came away with nothing twice with two turnovers. That made it tough.” Even so, the Trojans led 6-0 after the first quarter following a 24-yard touchdown pass from Jason Samuels to Dylan Collie. Samuels, playing his first game since breaking his collarbone against Fairfield on Sept. 30, completed 17-of-28 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. “I thought Jason did a great job and played really well,” Cavaliere said. “He had a couple of misses early, but he found the open receivers.” Granite Bay took the lead for good in the second quarter with a touchdown and extra point and led 7-6 at halftime. The Grizzlies took a 14-6 lead early in the third quarter, before Samuels hooked up with Collie a second time, this scoring pass from 40 yards, to make the score 14-12 early in the fourth quarter as the two-point conversion failed. Granite Bay sealed the victory with a final touchdown late in the game. “It’s pretty tough to win when you can’t run the ball,” Cavaliere said. “Granite Bay’s top-seven did a heck of job on us and at the same time, our defense softened up a bit and Granite Bay was able to run the ball on us.” Despite the loss, it was a good season for the Trojans, who had to overcome several key injuries and a tough schedule to win seven games, including their first playoff victory since 2004. “I’m really proud of this team,” Cavaliere said. “We’re not a team that has scholarship players everywhere, but they’re hard-working kids, who are coachable and got better every week. The seniors did an awesome job bringing the younger guys along. We became a better football program this year.”