Grant High in the troubled Del Paso Heights neighborhood was the overwhelming underdog going in against Long Beach Poly, no. 2 nationally, and they pulled it out to win. A big congratulations to the coach and team for pulling together and playing hard for the win. It will mean a lot for that community.
If there was anyone out there who wondered if the Grant High School football team could play on the big stage, who questioned the Pacers' selection to the game or doubted their ability to compete with the state's top ranked team, the answer was revealed Saturday night.
Heavy underdogs entering the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division State Football Championship Bowl Game, the Pacers upset Long Beach Poly, ranked No. 1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and second nationally by ESPN Rise, 25-20 at the Home Depot Center.
Darvin McCauley scored the game-winning touchdown on a 15-yard reception from Grant quarterback Kipeli Koniseti with 1:11 to play.
The game was back and forth with Grant stopping a fourth down conversion try to end the game. Here's a little taste of what Grant was up against and what they were able to do despite the overwhelming odds.
Poly, which has also produced the likes of actress Cameron Diaz, legendary tennis player Billie Jean King, baseball player Tony Gwynn, and NFL football players Willie McGinest and Gene Washington, entered the game with more tradition and a more decorated résumé. It has 18 Southern Section championships and the claim of having sent more players to the NFL (59) than any other program in the country.
The Pacers, however, didn't care. If pressure and Poly's prominence resembled a Mike Tyson uppercut, the Pacers endured the blow, and landed a few punches of their own.
Resembling the blue-collar mentality of Del Paso Heights, Grant displayed the prolific offense that helped it cruise to its sixth Sac-Joaquin Section championship and a three-game stretch during the regular season in which it outscored its opponents 205-0.
The Pacers racked up 369 yards of offense to Poly's 243. They had 15 first downs and the Jackrabbits' eight. More importantly, the Pacers limited the Jackrabbits' running game to 79 yards.
I'll say this for Grant High "Take that, Snoop Dogg"!