For the second consecutive Friday, the West High sophomore football players felt like they kissed their sister.
The Wolf Pack tied the host Grizzlies, 0-0, in nonleague play Friday in Granite Bay. The week before, West (2-1-2) deadlocked with Johansen, 6-6.
“Granite Bay was the best team we played this year, and the Grizzlies coach said we were the best they have played,” said West sophomore coach Tom O’Hara. “It felt more like a win — we knew it’d be a tough game.”
All week, West prepared to play its best football, because if the team didn’t, they’d be blown out, O’Hara said.
“Anything less than that and they’d roll us over, they’re that good,” he said. “If we play our very best, we can maybe stay even — and that turned out to be the case.”
“Every play mattered; the hitting was just incredible,” he added. “From the opening kickoff, you could tell that it would be that sort of game.”
In the first half, West recovered three fumbles (David Gray, Gabe Maric and Richard DellaFosse) to stop long drives by Granite Bay — including one drop recovered inside the Wolf Pack’s 10-yard line.
In the second half, the Wolf Pack defenders remained stout, with the Grizzlies only reaching the West 20-yard line on the game’s last play, when D.J. Anderson made a potential game-saving tackle by stopping a Grizzly inside of bounds. The Granite Bay field goal unit tried to set up before time expired for a chance to win the game but ran out of time.
“He took him down inches from the sideline,” O’Hara said.
Wolf Pack linebackers had 32 tackles, including 10 solos by Jeff Carter, seven by Gray and five by Maric. Safety Sterling Grande had 11 tackles, seven of which were unassisted.
Granite Bay proved to be as tough on defense, limiting West to just 148 yards rushing on 25 carries. Chuckie Combs led the Wolf Pack backs with 69 yards on 12 carries, with the longest a run of nine yards. West didn’t complete a pass.
“Our first five games have been hard,” said O’Hara, whose first five opponents have a combined record of 17-5-3. “So we’re thinking, ‘OK, this is going to get us ready for league.’”
West will try to break the string of ties Friday at Peter B. Kyne Field against Edison in its Tri-City Athletic League opener.
• Editor’s note: The West sophomore football story was mistakenly omitted from Saturday’s paper.
West 5, McNair 0
On West’s tennis courts, the Wolf Pack (5-2 TCAL) used new player rotations but still routed inexperienced McNair.
Cherie Romualdo won at No. 1 singles, 6-1, 6-0, while Jasmine Fonseca and Erika Sembrano, both debuting in singles, won 6-0, 6-0 and 6-2, 6-1 respectively.
“It was their first taste of singles,” West coach Ben Tsukiji said. “It was a revised lineup, but I think they all benefited today from the experience.”
In doubles, Ashley Lesage and Raman Deol recorded a 6-0, 6-0 win, and Tuzuk Koul and Neda Dastgheyb played their first match in some time and won 6-1, 6-2.
The Wolf Pack host Edison on Wednesday.
Lodi 18, Tracy 43 (girls)
Lodi 19, Tracy 41 (boys)
On Thursday, the Tracy cross country team visited the talented Flames.
Quinn O’Brien was the boys’ top finisher, coming in at 18 minutes, 52 seconds on the 3.1-mile course, good for third overall. Ben Burchett ran a 19:26, and Ramiro Rojas also cracked 20 minutes with a 19:52.
Jennifer Brawley was the Bulldogs’ top finisher for girls, with a 21:08 on the Lodi Lake course. She was in third place, 38 seconds behind the top Flame runner. Caitlin McLean ran a 22:48, and Cecilia Robles a 24:17. Kari Ridder came in behind Robles at 24:39.
Tracy’s lone winner was Meghan Gleason, whose 12:34 on the shorter freshman/sophomore course was 16 seconds ahead of the next-best finisher. Haggerty Dillon was the top Tracy boys frosh/soph runner, with a 12:25.