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De La Salle Downs Granite Bay in NorCal

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De La Salle Downs Granite Bay in NorCal

Granite Bay in white, DLS in green. Photo Dan Bandoni.

In a clash of two of the strongest teams in Northern California, De La Salle (GRR #2 School Team) defeated Granite Bay (GRR #9 HS Club). 

This was a very tight battle throughout, but the DLS defense held sway, limiting Granite Bay to just the one penalty goal in a 19-3 win. De La Salle were coming off a well-take victory over Shawnigan Lake—De La Salle Defeats Touring BC Team—but had a couple of injuries coming out of that game, too. Without lock Kai Moananu-Apela they opted for a smaller but faster group of forwards.

The DLS defense was needed as Granite Bay runs hard and strong and are very fit.

"Coach Chris [Miller] always has them prepared so we knew what we were getting into," said DLS Head Coach Derek Holmberg. 

The match started off with De La Salle on the front foot and quickly Granite Bay were penalized for hands in the ruck, resulting in fullback Parker Beilke slotting the goal for a 3-0 Spartans lead. About 10 minutes later outside center Peter McKenna got around his counterpart and broke away. DLS recycled quickly and Beilke kicked across the field for wing Lucas Meranda.

Outrunning his defender, Meranda raced in to score. Beilke converted and it was 10-0. That lead held up through to halftime.

With Beilke having to leave due to a bloody nose, Meranda moved to fullback and Brayden Park came on at wing. Meranda stepped up nicely and his kicking for territory was very useful for DLS.

The second half was a defensive battle. Granite Bay was able to put phases together, but as they started to get on a roll the Spartan defenders were able to poach the ball. But when DLS started to build phases they ran into the same problem.

About 15 minutes into the second half, DLS was penalized for hands in and Granite Bay slotted the goal to make it 10-3.

It became clear that this would be a game where points were at a premium. Ahead by a converted try, De La Salle realized they needed a cushion, but it probably didn't have to be a massive cushion.

DLS pressured Granite Bay and had a try disallowed for a double movement. That pressure did produce penalties, however, and freshman flyhalf Sione Manoa was called upon to just keep the scoreboard turning over. Manoa took three kicks at goal and put them all through to cap a 19-3 win.

"Really pleased with the boys effort on defense, our kicking game, and our set piece," said Holmberg. "Our open play attack needs work and takes the most communication. Coach Brad Roberts has done a great job working with such a young group of backs and they are getting better each week.  

Next up for Granite Bay is at Eastside in Washington as they go on tour. De La Salle takes on SFGG.