After going 3-0 in the nonleague season and earning the No. 13 ranking in the East Bay, Granada High's football players and coaches didn't really feel they had to legitimize the Matadors.
They did anyway.
With the defense setting the tone and running back George Atkinson III rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns, visiting Granada stunned No. 2 San Ramon Valley 21-0 in both teams' East Bay Athletic League opener.
Fourth year Granada coach Tim Silva certainly felt his team had earned respect with its big start that included wins over Patterson and Sierra. However, even he admitted his Matadors (4-0, 1-0 EBAL) had done something special with its first victory over the Wolves (3-1, 0-1) since a 17-14 decision in 2005.
"Sierra and Patterson were good teams, but the kids really stepped up tonight," said Silva. "With the players we have and if we continue to get better, we can play with every other team.''
The Granada defense, which has shined this season, turned up the heat on the Wolves and their Cal-bound quarterback Zach Kline. The Matadors sacked Kline six times and Kline was just 12 for 26 passing for 113 yards, although a half-dozen passes were dropped by his receivers.
At the top of the second quarter of a scoreless game, San Ramon was forced to punt from its own 50. Granada's Eddie Horn came flying in from the left side and blocked punter Travis Kummer's kick and the Mats recovered on the Wolves 33. \
Five plays later, Atkinson fought his way into the end zone from 15 yards out for a 7-0 lead with 9:20 left in the half.
Horn struck again in the third quarter, blocking another Kummer kick. Kummer picked up the ball but was swarmed under by Matadors players at the Wolves 12. Three plays later, quarterback Jeremy Mata threw a bullet between two San Ramon Valley defenders to Tyler Amick in the back of the end zone for a 14-0 lead with 3:07 left in the quarter. Atkinson closed out the scoring with one minute left in the third quarter on a blazing 88-yard run to make it 21-0.