Grizzlies wrap up undefeated season
By Rob Brockmeyer
Sports Editor Here we go again. Another Northern Section title and another first-round bye.
Lassen High School's football team buried Las Plumas 39-0 to cap an undefated regular season and now the top-seeded Grizzlies are bracing for a semifinal clash against No. 4 Foothill (7-3) or No. 5 West Valley (6-4).
In the other quarterfinal game, No. 6 Pleasant Valley and No. 3 Red Bluff (6-4) square off. The winner will play No. 2 Enterprise (8-2).
Although the playoffs pairings are likely, they were not confirmed before press time.
The semifinals will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at Arnold Field in Susanville, but Lassen head coach Tom St. Jacques is not taking anything for granted.
"We're happy to get the first-round bye, but we know what can happen once we get to the second round," St. Jacques said.
Lassen (10-0) has lost three straight semifinal games with the two most recent losses coming to Red Bluff and Paradise.
"We need to get to the championship game. This program deserves it. It's about time we at least give ourselves a shot at the section title. We have to get that stigma off our backs," St. Jacques said.
Lassen won the opening toss against Las Plumas and drove 60 yards for a touchdown with quarterback John Black sneaking it in from a yard out.
The Grizzly offense then mixed it up and Cody Frailey capped a 70-yard drive with a three-yard run for a 13-0 lead.
Minutes later, Las Plumas failed to convert a fake punt attempt at their own 40-yard line, setting up a Black to Ryan Marshall connection and Black option run for a 21-0 lead at the start of the second quarter.
After forcing the Thunderbirds to punt after two first downs, Black hit Ben Baker on a 25-yard pass for a score and a 27-0 halftime lead.
The third quarter was much of the same.
Lassen drove 40 yards to start the third quarter and E.J.Persons scored on a 25-yard touchdown run.
Then at start of the fourth quarter, Black found Frailey open for a 30-yard touchdown pass and St. Jacques cleared the bench.
Frailey finished with a season-high 103 yards in five carries. Sobierajski had nine carries for 82 yards. Persons ran for 41 yards in five carries and Black scrambled for 63 yards in six carries.
Receivers dropped three of Black's 12 attempts, but he still completed six for 115 yards.
On defense, Ryan Verboomen had three of Lassen's five sacks and helped limit Las Plumas to less than 200 yards on offense.
"I wanted to challenge these kids so we won't lose like we have at the end of the last two seasons," St. Jacques said . "I'm glad of the way we finished.
"I'm real happy with the way we're winning games also. Offensively, I'm happy with diversity we have. Ross (Sobierajski), E.J. and Cody are sharing runs and now we're getting Ben back involved.
"We're about as healthy as we've been all year long. We played Taylor (Polan) on defense sparingly. We didn't want him to hurt his knee again. Boy, if we get him back for the playoffs it will be a big lift for this team."
Defensive end Jason Hubbard could be back by the semifinals and linebacker Mike Frohrib is making good progress with a pinched nerve in his shoulder. Frohrib has sat out the last two games.
St. Jacques said he is a little concerned about back-to-back blowout victories the last two weeks.
"The last two weeks really haven't helped us at all. I hope what we accomplished on offense and defense, that we use it wisely. We're not going to run into teams like that in the playoffs. Trust me, whoever we play is going to want to knock off the team from Susanville.
"They don't want to come up here and play," St. Jacques said.