Psst. Don’t look now, but the Gridley High School football team is playing some pretty darned good football.
On both sides of the ball.
For the second straight week, the Bulldogs topped the 50-point mark…this time, on the road.
Gridley defeated Paradise, 50-33 to improve to 3-1 on the 2017 season.
In other action Friday night, Live Oak fell to East Nicolaus, 52-0, and Biggs lost its Mountain Valley League opener at home to Chester, 36-20.
At Paradise, Jace Villapania had a 60-yard touchdown run and threw for two more TDs in his return to action after sitting out the Bulldogs’ Harvest Bowl win over Live Oak with an ankle injury.
Behind the senior QB, Gridley picked up its biggest victory of the year by blowing past the Bobcats in the second half.
Gridley led 20-14 at halftime before taking over after intermission.
Villapania threw a 20-yard touchdown to Brandon Lara and a 12-yarder to Wyatt Dreesmann, and Jorge Moran scored twice on the ground with a 30-yard run and another TD from 3 yards out.
Davis Mardesich also saw some time at quarterback for Gridley, and tossed a 25-yard TD pass to Nika McCracken.
Gridley will try to keep things rolling with a home contest against Colusa at the Boneyard. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Chester 36, Biggs 20
At Biggs, as late New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra might have said, it was a case of déjà vu all over again as the Wolverines (3-2 overall, 0-1 MVL) fell to the Volcanoes in their league opener.
Retired teacher Sue Ruttenburg, long time Wolverine, lead the Varsity team onto the field before the game. Many of the football players and cheerleaders had Ruttenburg as a teacher and speak joyously about their time in her class. Ruttenburg was honored for all that she has done and continues to do for the students in Biggs.
It was a night when the Wolverines again had trouble handling the Volcanoes’ potent offense – especially quarterback Sawyer Durkin and running back Tony Rogers.
Biggs head coach Tyler Rutledge said the Volcanoes used pretty much the same formula they used to beat the Wolverines in Chester last year.
“They’re a team that likes to grind it out on the ground,” Rutledge said.
Durkin had 155 yards and two TDs on the night, while Rogers added 84 tough yards and three TDs.
Last year, the Wolverines’ 56-22 loss to the Volcanoes was their last for quite awhile. It sparked a seven-game winning streak that spurred Biggs to the CIF Northern Section Division 5 championship and a berth in the state playoffs.
Rutledge said it’s a new season and the Wolverines are going to regroup and follow the mantra he’s instilled in them since his arrival last year.
“One game at a time,” Rutledge said. “We want to go 1-0 next week.”
The Wolverines got rushing TDs from Daniel Velasquez and Eli Melendez, and junior quarterback Tucker Bennett hooked up with tight end Hunter Roles on a 34-yard TD pass.
Biggs travels to Burney this week for another MVL contest.