Grizzlies climb (hook) and ladder
Appeal Sports Writer
SPARKS – Galena coach Steve Struzyk claims the hook-and-ladder never works in practice.
Yet somehow, the Grizzlies have scored on that play three times in the last two years, including twice at Reed and once against Palo Verde in the state title game.
Galena (4-0, 1-0) went back to that play again, and it worked to perfection. Pete Lazzari scampered 29 yards after taking a lateral from Steve Blackhart, and the Grizzlies went on to record a 34-21 win over Reed in the High Desert League opener for both schools.
“Pete was chomping at the bit to run that play,” Struzyk said. “They were giving us that 5-yard hitch, and if they are going to do that, there is always a chance we’ll run it.
“This is huge and gets us going. We have to focus. We can’t think we’re going to walk through this thing. There is a lot of football left.”
The trick play turned out to be the game-winning score, and was set up by Jake Mansfield’s second interception of the game. He stepped in front of a Zack Parker pass at the Galena 45-yard line and returned it to the Reed 48. Five plays later, the Grizzlies scored for a 28-14 lead with 8:18 left.
“I got a good jump on the ball,” said Mansfield, who added a fumble recovery to his two interceptions. “I just read the line and broke on it.”
The Grizzlies were in the end zone less than two minutes later, as Markis Robinson stepped in front of a Parker pass at the 29 and brought it back all the way down to the Reed 4.
Then it was all Jake Hess. The senior running back carried three straight times, and scored from the 1 to make it 34-14 with 6:21 left in the game.
All told, the Grizzlies intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles. Reed’s Parker finished with 313 yards passing and 90 more on the ground, but the Grizzlies made some big plays.
“We made some adjustments,” Struzyk said. “You have to give people different looks.”
Not to be overlooked was the blocked punt by Galena’s Ben Wilkes early in the second half. Wilkes blocked Jordan Rousseau’s punt, and then fell on the ball at the Reed 8.
On the first play, Jacob Anderson tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Blackart in the left corner of the end zone. Michael Parker’s PAT made it 21-14 with 9:16 left in the third quarter.
“I basically just went straight up the middle,” said Wilkes of his first-ever blocked punt.
“It (the blocked punt) was a momentum changer,” Struzyk said. “We talk about momentum changes, and that’s what high school football is all about.”
Neither team did much the rest of the quarter. Reed barely got the ball in Galena territory one time, while Galena turned the ball over once on an interception and lost the ball on downs at the Reed 15.
The Raiders were first to break the ice after a scoreless first quarter following a 28-yard punt that gave them in great field position at their own 37.
Larry Cooper (15-89) ripped off an 11-yard gain up to the 48. Galena was whistled for a 15-yard penalty, giving Reed a first down at the Galena 42. Two plays later, Parker lofted a 38-yard scoring pass to Roman Kea, who appeared to reach over Robinson to make the catch and get into the end zone. The PAT gave Reed a 7-0 lead.
The Grizzlies bounced back with scores on their next two possessions to take a 14-7 lead.
Anderson, who completed 21 of 35 for 346 yards, found Blackhart (7 for 148) along the left side for 39 yards and a first down at the Reed 49. A 15-yard penalty against Reed gave Galena a first down at the Reed 34.
After two incomplete passes, Anderson fired a pass to Hess, who caught the ball at about the 29 and shook off several tacklers en route to the end zone. The extra point tied the game at 7.
The Grizzlies got the ball back three plays later when Parker lofted a ball up along the left hashmark that Mansfield intercepted as he was falling down backwards at the Reed 38.
On the next play, Anderson fired a strike to Parkinson, who was running free in the middle of the secondary, and completed the 62-yard pass and catch play. Michael Parker’s PAT made it 14-7.