KODAK – The Grainger High School Grizzly football team evened its record to 4-4 with a 26-14 non-conference win at Northview Academy Friday, October 8.
Bryson Bennett threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns and Dylan Fowler also added a score through the air for Grainger.
Landon Patterson was the favorite target of the Grizzly signal-callers as he hauled in six receptions for 80 yards and Ty Overbay had three catches for 63 yards. On defense, Tucker Gillette was his usual dominating self as he had 10 stops with Cainnan Long recording eight tackles and Logan Thomas adding five.
“Bryson has done a really great job for us the past couple of weeks,” Grainger head coach Michael Manis said. “We are able to mix it up with Fowler in a heavier package and that was something we worked on this week. They complement each other so well as Fowler brings that physical run game when he’s in and Bryson has really grown up for us the past few weeks in our passing game.”
After the Cougars took an early 6-0 lead, Grainger bounced back with a scoring drive of their own. Blake Morse scored from the one-yard line on a drive that took up just under half of the second quarter. The extra point was blocked and the score stood tied at 6-6.
The passing game was in full force on Grainger’s next score. Running the two-minute offense to near perfection, the Grizzlies drove towards the end zone with only two seconds remaining in the first half. Patterson hauled in a 37-yard bomb from Bennett to put Grainger in business at the seven-yard line. After calling a timeout to draw up the play, Fowler was called on to come in at quarterback and threw right over the top of the NVA defense to a wide-open Ian Dortch, who caught the ball for a touchdown.
Fowler got the call to keep it on the two-point conversion and delivered as the Grizzlies went up 14-6 at the half.
Manis said the trick play at the end of the half was something his team had worked on for some time but waited until the game against the Cougars to run.
“We had that Tebow play in our pocket and we hadn’t used it yet. I felt like there were times we could have used it but we didn’t. It was a great job to dial it up there and get the ball to Dortch who made a huge catch. That was a huge momentum switch for us,” Manis said.
The momentum the Grizzlies had at the end of the second quarter carried over to the third as Bennett hit Overbay for a 36-yard yard touchdown on a perfectly executed screen pass. Even though the two-point conversion failed, Grainger was in firm control at 20-6.
“On film, we saw that Northview had been a little susceptible to the screen. I thought it might be a dead giveaway with Ty in the backfield but it wasn’t and we timed it perfectly,” Manis said of the screen call.
Northview did not go away quietly, however, as a touchdown and two-point conversion narrowed the gap to 20-14 with 5:15 remaining in the game. Grainger answered on the next drive when Bennett found Long on a pass when the Cougars brought the house on a blitz.
Bennett was off to the races for a 56-yard scoring play, where he was barely touched. Grainger did not convert the two-pointer, but it did not really matter, as they were able to get the necessary first downs to run out the clock for the win.
The Grizzlies host Seymour on Homecoming Friday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m.