California High senior Karris Johnson ran for 347 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Grizzlies took an entertaining 41-38 victory over host San Ramon Valley on Friday night in an East Bay Athletic League football showdown.
In the offensive showcase, the Grizzlies ran for 475 yards, and San Ramon Valley was paced by quarterback Cameron Birse's 391 yards passing as he accounted for four touchdowns, two rushing and two throwing.
The result left San Ramon Valley (3-4, 3-1 EBAL) and California (6-1, 3-1) in a tie for first place in the wide-open league.
"We wanted the win because we've been losing to these guys for three years, and we didn't want them to take it this year," Johnson said. "It was mainly my line. My line helped me out a lot. We came together and kept driving the ball."
Neither head coach was pleased with his team's defense. The Wolves' Mark Kessler said, "We had a heck of a time trying to stop their run, whether it be missed tackles or missed assignments or simply being outmanned."
California's Eric Billeci called Johnson's play typically "phenomenal." But the Grizzlies needed every yard.
"Our offense played great, but I'm really disappointed with our defense," Billeci said.
The Wolves, who got 199 yards rushing from Marcus de la Pena, rallied from deficits of 27-10 and 34-17 to cut the deficit to 34-31 during a wild third quarter. Birse's 3-yard touchdown pass to Matt Turner cut it to 27-17, but Johnson's 1-yard run upped the margin to 17 points again.
However, the Wolves answered on Birse's 1-yard touchdown run, capping a breathtaking 79-yard drive in which he completed five passes for 67 yards, three to sophomore JJ Koske. The Wolves recovered an onside kick and scored on a 27-yard de la Pena run, followed by Matt Anderson extra point, to cut it to 34-31 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.
Cal got some breathing room, marching 58 yards on 12 plays and led 41-31 on Blake Bierwith's 2-yard run with 6:39 left in the game. But the Wolves answered as Birse completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Justin Bangay.
But the Grizzlies effectively sealed the win on Johnson's 3-yard gain on a fourth-and-1 play from the Wolves' 31-yard line, on their final series.
Monte Vista 49, Livermore 14: Mustangs quarterback Nikita Zamora completed 10 of his 13 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns as host Monte Vista (6-1, 3-1 EBAL) never trailed.
Zamora also scored the first touchdown of the game on a 1-yard keeper in the first quarter. He connected with Marco Zamora on touchdown passes of 57 and 23 yards in the second quarter to give the Mustangs a three-touchdown lead. Monte Vista reached the end zone on three of its first four possessions.
Livermore (2-5, 0-3) scored with three seconds remaining in the first half on a 5-yard pass from Zach McPherson to Louie Hernandez to make it 21-7 at halftime. McPherson rushed for 89 yards in the game.
But Monte Vista scored three touchdowns in the third quarter for a 42-7 advantage. Nikita Zamora threw touchdown passes to Jalen Avery and Mason Melin, and Zach Chang reached the end zone on a 3-yard run. Chang's touchdown was set up by an interception return from Melin.
Avery caught five passes for 115 yards in the game. Livermore's leading receiver was Hernandez with four catches for 93 yards. Chang had a team-high 56 rushing yards for the Mustangs.
-- Phil Jensen
Foothill 21, Granada 14: Ray Hudson's first 10 catches were nice, but his 11th was best of all. That's because it iced Foothill's win at Granada.
Foothill (4-3, 2-1 EBAL) controlled the tenor of the game from the opening drive, when it marched down the field and scored on a 1-yard run by Jamirr Holland. Quarterback Kyle Kearns had a great day under center for Foothill, slicing the Granada defense with quick passes all night. He finished 19 of 26 for 245 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, but the star was Hudson.
"They were daring us to throw, so we wanted to throw on 'em," Foothill coach Matt Sweeney said. "It was a tough game."
Kearns and Hudson connected on a 51-yard touchdown in the second quarter before the teams traded scores in the second half. Derek Granados scored a 2-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 14-7 but Foothill answered with a long drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown from Griffith Gates.
Granada (3-4, 0-3) cut the deficit to seven points again in the fourth when Tyler Offill did a play-action bootleg for a 5-yard touchdown, but Foothill kept the ball the final 5:44 to close it out.
-- Alex Espinoza IV, correspondent