Silva didn’t disappoint, completing his first seven passes, leading to three straight scoring drives to start Friday night’s season opener against Granite Bay.
However, Silva’s 371 passing yards on 28-for-37 accuracy weren’t enough. The visiting Grizzlies needed just five second-quarter plays to tie the game at 21-21 with a pair of long touchdowns, and then the team from Granite Bay, Calif. took the lead for good with 5:45 to play in its 43-37 victory.
Big plays revealed a deficiency in the middle of the Raiders’ secondary all night, and the go-ahead touchdown was no exception. A wide-open Tony Ellison caught a pass from senior quarterback Brendan Keeney over the middle and he booked it 48 yards for a touchdown. Nick Bermudez’s extra point left the Grizzlies ahead by the final 43-37 margin.
Keeney was 19-for-26 for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Grizzlies.
Reed had one last shot at pulling out the win, trekking down the field into the red zone before coming up empty-handed on a fourth-and-5 play at the Granite Bay 18.
The Grizzlies then converted three third downs on the ensuing possession, running out the last 3:46 of the game.
“It still always comes down to little mistakes. You come down to a team like that, you’ve got to be pretty mistake-free at that point,” Reed football coach Ernie Howren said. “We’re proud of our kids. It’s an excellent program over there. I thought our kids played their tails off. There was a point in the game where the momentum shifted a little bit, and I really thought our kids got it back.”
Silva was stellar in the first half, especially in the first quarter. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 200 yards before the intermission.
Reed used up under five minutes of clock to travel 195 yards on only 21 plays to go up 21-7 after 12 minutes of action. John Covello scored from 1 yard out and Kyle Vonschimmelmann plowed into the end zone from 2 yards out on the first and third scores respectively. Silva connected with Devin Gray on a deep pass down the sideline for a 34-yard touchdown completion. Gray caught 12 passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns.
Granite Bay also scored on its opening possession thanks to a 10-yard touchdown pass from Keeney to senior wide receiver Michael Bertolino, tying the game at 7-7 halfway through the first quarter.
But the Grizzlies couldn’t get back into the end zone until the first play of the second quarter when senior running back Arik Bird was stuffed at the line. He then reversed field to bounce out to the right sideline. And with one cutback, he was gone for a 73-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 21-14 at the 11:41 mark of the second quarter.
After forcing Reed to punt for the first time, Granite Bay took over at its own 34. Four plays later, the game was deadlocked at 21-21. Senior Ian Mook blazed past two Reed defenders and hauled in a pass on the run for a 55-yard touchdown down the sideline.
The two teams traded three-and-outs in the middle of the second quarter. That’s when the Raiders drove downfield again. This time, the Blue and Gold had points taken off the board when an illegal formation penalty negated a 13-yard touchdown play. Reed had to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Silva, giving the home team a 24-21 halftime lead.
On Reed’s first possession of the second half, the Raiders drove past midfield, but stalled. Reed tried to convert a fourth-and-inches play at the Grizzly 47, but a high snap allowed Granite Bay to take over on the Reed 39.
Bird capped the short drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, handing Granite Bay its first lead of the game, 28-24, with 6:10 on the third-quarter clock.
Reed answered right back, going 82 yards on 10 plays in less than three minutes. Gray’s 10-yard TD reception and a missed extra point made it a 30-28 ballgame.
Still, the Raiders defense could not find an answer to Granite Bay’s offense, which put the visitors in the lead, 36-20. A Mook 4-yard end-around play and a two-point conversion ended that drive with 10:35 remaining on the game clock.
Two and a half minutes later, the Raiders claimed their final advantage, 37-36, on Gray’s third touchdown catch, from 4 yards out.
Alex Young also had a big day receiving for Reed, racking up 110 yards on five receptions. Covello finished the game with 65 yards on 16 carries.
“I thought we were definitely clicking,” Howren said. “I’m not going to get too excited about the offense and the offensive guys aren’t going to get too excited because we still lost the game.”
Reed (0-1) has a bye week next week and will be back at home Sept. 9 against Douglas.