SUNNYSIDE — The Grizzlies grinded out a victory over the West Valley Rams 21-14, as both teams scored all their points in the first half while sophomore linebacker Raymond Ramirez made a quarterback sack at the 5-yard line on the final play of the game to preserve the win at Clem Senn Field on Friday night.
“Our defense did a great job of closing it out, but we made it close. In a situation where we can distance ourselves point wise,” head coach John Lobbestael stated. “We would like to do that and not wait until the last play of the game, which it eventually came down to. So, that was my frustration and I think they handled it very well.”
SHS senior running back Arturo Fernandez led the ground attack which helped the Grizzlies keep the Rams off balance in the first two quarters, and in the final half, his relentless pounding the ball chewed up the clock.
“Everyone had that mentality of just getting after it and fighting. It doesn’t matter what team we’re facing,” Fernandez stated. “My linemen, they go against bigger guys and they have heart. That’s what we play with a lot of heart.”
The hard charging runner gained 301 yards on 37 attempts and scored 2 TDs. Late in the fourth quarter, the Arturo was knocked out of bounds and driven into the bench in front of the stands. Fernandez was laid out as medical staff treated the injured player. After sitting out a few plays, he was back in the game.
“Art got way more carrys than I would have liked, but I didn’t realize that at the time and he wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down. He had a really good night and I was really proud of him,” Lobbestael acknowledged.
The Grizzlies had opportunities to put points on the scoreboard throughout the game with drives deep into the red zone but were unable to finish. As the conference schedule of games begins to tighten so does the goal of executing on both sides of the ball.
“Eventually, playing like we did on Friday, some team will take advantage of that,” coach firmly voiced. “Regardless of who we’re playing, everybody in our league is good enough to beat us.”
Fernandez was hurt the first game of the season and did not play. The senior had been splitting time and sharing the ball carrying duties with sophomore Devin Escamilla who was injured.
“You’ve got to knock me down and put me out, like completely. I’ll keep fighting for this team. I love this team and love everyone here,” Fernandez exclaimed. “A shout out to my O-line. If it wasn’t for them tonight, we wouldn’t be here right now!”
The Grizzlies host Eisenhower (0-1 and 1-3) for homecoming on Friday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.