Grizzlies football (7-4) won its first playoff game in five years after a home 28-14 victory over the Summit SkyHawks (5-6).
Golden Valley’s defense held a Summit offense averaging 27.5 points a game to just two scores. The Grizzlies aimed to take away the SkyHawk run game and did just that.
“Our defense played lights out,” said Golden Valley head coach Dan Kelley. “They shut down the run and forced Summit to throw the ball. We did really well on defense.”
The SkyHawks are a more run-dominant team, led by running back Bryan Calderon. The Grizzlies kept Calderon out of the end zone and just surrendered two rushing scores to Summit quarterback Tavita Tufaga.
Golden Valley struck first in the second quarter with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Chris Melkonian to Ajani Smith.
Smith now has five touchdowns and two interceptions in his two career playoff games.
Both were key for victory as Melkonian threw the ball well and later ran in his 10th rushing score of the year.
The Grizzly defense also got in on the scoring thanks to a scoop and score by senior Antonio Brown.
Senior Malachi Beacham had a plethora of tackles while also getting a rushing TD on offense.
“Malachi Beacham, I can’t say enough about him,” said Kelley. “He averaged 13 tackles a game in the Foothill League. He’s the heart and soul of our defense. All-around great football player and good kid.”
Kelley was also proud of his team’s grit, lining up against a much bigger team and still being able to grind out the win.
It was a total team win for the Grizzlies, who have never won a playoff game before. Kelley told the players after the game, “You know what they say when you win? On to the next one.”
Golden Valley will take the long road trip for a second-round matchup with Paloma Valley (9-2) next Friday at 7 p.m.