California looks ready for EBAL “meat-grinder” after it overwhelms Granada in dominant second half

California pulls away in the third quarter, runs for 182 yards and has five sacks

SAN RAMON, CA — It took California four minutes and four seconds to turn a competitive homecoming game against Granada into a 41-17 victory.

California marched downfield on a five-play drive that ended with quarterback Jayden Macedo finding Chase McGill for the tight end’s seventh touchdown of the season after receiving the opening kickoff with a 21-10 lead that could have been much smaller had the visitors not squandered opportunities.

After a Granada three-and-out, a long punt return set up Sayyidi Addul-Kareem’s second rushing touchdown of the night with 7:56 remaining on the clock.

Granada never recovered from the third-quarter blitz, in which Grizzlies pass-rushers pounced on receivers and ran roughshod over running backs.

The game highlighted the talent gap between Granada, a competitive team in the East Bay Athletic League’s lower Valley Division, and a good team in the upper Mountain Division.

“They’re a physical team, and we tried to bring it, too,” said Granada coach Marc Moses. “My hat goes off to them… This demonstrates where we need to go.”

Jayden Macedo, the Cal quarterback, completed his first eight passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Devan Love had 131 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and the team gained 182 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Love also intercepted a Granada pass on the first drive of the Livermore school, setting up a two-play California drive that Macedo capped with a 17-yard touchdown pass to top target Nick Fox two minutes into the game.

Quinn Boyd of Granada had a 16-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio entering Friday night, with the senior dividing his attention between receivers Christian Clauser, Peyton Richards, and younger brother Mikey Boyd.

Boyd, who stands 6 feet 4 inches tall, threw for 170 yards and ran for 40 yards. His scrambles helped Granada march downfield for a 10-play touchdown drive capped by a three-yard run into the end zone by running back Clouser.

California responded with a four-minute drive that ended with Abdul-Kareem’s first rushing touchdown, with 40 seconds left in the first quarter and Cal leading 14-7.

“Tonight we really wanted to stay focused, since we had homecoming and everything going on around us,” Abdul-Kareem stated.

Love took an option pitch from Macedo and ran down the left sideline for a 15-yard touchdown, giving the Grizzlies a two-touchdown lead with 8:38 left in the first half.

Despite moving the ball well, Granada could only muster a 39-yard Brandon Niemeyer field goal to make the halftime score 21-10.

“A few things go a little better for us, and I feel like we have a better shot,” Boyd stated.

Following the selection of California’s homecoming court, the Grizzlies who took the field after halftime looked like the team that has risen to the top of the Bay Area News Group’s rankings.

Its 3-2 record belied the Grizzlies’ talent, with the San Ramon school’s two losses coming to Orange County’s San Juan Hills and a 38-35 loss to No. 4-ranked Pittsburg.

Following a 48-6 rout of previously undefeated Milpitas, the Grizzlies were expected to easily defeat Granada. California had won the previous nine meetings, including seven by double digits.

Three second-half touchdowns extended Granada’s winning streak to ten games in a row, with the lone Granada touchdown coming on a 52-yard bomb from Boyd to Richards early in the fourth quarter.

The quarterback was under constant pressure from Cal’s pass rush, with Ethan Cullen accounting for three of the team’s five sacks.

“Ethan has a great motor,” said California head coach Danny Calcagno. “He’s undersized, but he plays with great technique and he’s got a lot of heart.”

Next Friday, Granada will host Dublin. California, which improved to 4-2, will have a week off before beginning its EBAL Mountain schedule on Oct. 13 at Monte Vista.

The tried-and-true The Grizzlies believe they have what it takes to compete with the league’s powerhouses.

“It’s a meat grinder, but we’re ready for it,” said Calcagno.

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