PLEASANTON — California High football coach Eric Billeci said his team's defense finally grew up on Friday night.

And that was bad news for host Foothill.

The unbeaten Grizzlies walloped the Falcons 36-7 in an East Bay Athletic League showdown pitting teams ranked in the top five in the Bay Area News Group East Bay poll.

"We hold them on a tight line, day in and day out, and it finally paid off tonight," Billeci said of his defense. "Hopefully we can build on this and there's more to come."

The No. 4 ranked Grizzlies (5-0, 2-0 EBAL) dominated No. 5 Foothill in all aspects, limiting the Falcons (3-2, 1-1) to 49 yards rushing on 11 carries and 55 passing, picking off sophomore quarterback Kyle Kearns twice in the first half.

California's Karris Johnson ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns, including setting the tone with a 57-yard scoring run on the Grizzlies' second play from scrimmage, after he ran for 16 yards on the first.

Cal's Nate Grixti also booted a 40-yard field goal to make it 15-0.

The Grizzlies, who allowed an average of 28.3 points a game in their previous three games, wouldn't let the Falcons get anything going. Foothill had just 16 offensive plays in the first half, among 27 overall.

"We were accountable. That's all it is. We were accountable," Billeci said. "We run the same defense that we've been running all year, and guys finally bought in."

California amassed 316 yards of rushing. The Grizzlies' Blake and Zac Guardino had interceptions.


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Foothill, which was coming off a 21-14 home win over Monte Vista, avoided the shutout on a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Isaiah Langley with 10:22 left in the game.

Johnson praised his offensive line for getting a "big push" and making life easier for the runners. He also felt a little personal redemption.

"Last week (against Amador Valley) I didn't step it up enough, and so I felt I had to make it up to the whole team and my family and do my best for them," said Johnson, who has narrowed his college choices to two schools, Utah State and Hawaii.