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Prep football: It’s one inch at a time

Grizzlies hope little things will give them a big victory

Posted: September 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: September 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Golden Valley’s Kyle Crossley, center, and Enrique Coti (4) combine to sack Simi Valley quarterback Jake Maranto at Canyon High on Sept. 2.

The best news for Golden Valley is there are still nine games to play this season.

That’s nine opportunities to try to erase the memory of a disheartening season-opening loss last Friday, where the Grizzlies fell 45-14 to Simi Valley.

The first chance to prove that game was nothing more than a case of first-week jitters comes tonight at 7 against Royal High of Simi Valley at Royal High School.

At first glance, Grizzlies head coach Robert Fisher sees Royal as another big, talented opponent to deal with.

Yet that is the least of his worries.

“I don’t think a lot of that matter all the time,” Fisher said of a team’s size and speed. “It really comes down to who is going to make the least amount of mistakes. Who is going to do what they need to do all the time?”

After a blunder-filled contest with Simi Valley, Golden Valley (0-1) has added the tag line “inches make champions” to practice this week.

Whether it was turnovers, miscommunications or substitution errors last week, the Grizzlies didn’t help themselves much in the game.

“There were multiple times last week where if we were an inch to the right or an inch to the left, maybe that mistake doesn’t happen,” Fisher said.

The inches also refer to last year’s matchup between these two teams, where the Highlanders (0-0) edged Golden Valley 20-19 almost exactly a year ago, on Sept. 10, 2010.

In the closing seconds, Golden Valley tried for a game-winning two-point conversion, but fell just inches short on the play.
It’s not a game Royal head coach Kevin Flye has forgotten about. In fact, he’s hoping his team has learned from it.

“We knew we blew several opportunities and that could have been a 35-7 game in our favor,” Flye said. “We turned the ball over and we gave them several opportunities.”

Like Golden Valley, the Highlanders are strong at the offensive skill positions.

Senior Logan Bateman moved from wide receiver last year into the quarterback spot this season and Devonte Riley will carry the load at running back.

Those two make up nine total returning starters on offense this year and Royal has added more size and depth on the defensive side.

The defensive line is particularly experienced with tackle Joey Blanc coming back after starting every game last year, and he’ll be playing alongside 6-foot-6-inch defensive end Garrett Parkinson.

“We have been talking to our kids a lot about respecting our opponents,” Fisher said. “We’re trying to teach our kids that on any given night, anyone can show up and win a game.”

That goes for both teams.

Flye said he considers Golden Valley’s lopsided loss last week a fluke.

“We know that’s not going to happen his week,” he said. “We expect them to play much better.

Against a veteran team like Royal, they’ll have to.


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