The fumbled football bounced by its lonesome on the turf just waiting to be picked up. Grant Sherrod was happy to oblige.

The California High senior scooped up the ball and ran 78 yards untouched to the end zone, scoring his team's final points in Friday night's home victory over Amador Valley.

"That was the game right there," California coach Eric Billeci said.

Sherrod's big play came with 8:25 left in the game and came shortly after a sequence that featured fumbles from both teams in a matter of eight seconds. Amador Valley (2-2, 0-1 East Bay Athletic League) had moved the ball down to the California 20-yard line, but a botched pitch attempt proved to be deadly.

California (4-0, 1-0) also took advantage of a third-quarter interception from senior defensive back Jake Lepere, as Nate Grixti nailed a 24-yard field goal on the ensuing series to give the Grizzlies a 24-14 lead. Amador Valley answered with a 12-play, 89-yard touchdown drive, but couldn't put any points on the board after that.

"We're trying to build defensively each week," Billeci said. "Tonight I think they took a step forward."

California quarterback Cameron Owen completed 8 of 11 passes for 130 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Karris Johnson paced the team on the ground with 15 carries for 99 yards and a score. Amador Valley quarterback Kyle Moreno went 19-of-35 for 217 yards, two touchdowns and one pick.

California 31, Amador Valley 21

AV 0 7 7 7-- 21

California 7 7 7 10-- 21

C -- Cornwell 45 pass from Owen (Grixti kick)

AV -- Greenan 10 pass from Moreno (Knaggs kick)

C -- Johnson 3 run (Grixti kick)

AV -- G. Miller 5 pass Moreno (Knaggs kick)

C -- Bierwith 3 run (Grixti kick)

C -- Grixti 24 FG

AV -- Ferrara 6 run (Knaggs kick)

C -- Sherrod 78 fumble return (Grixti kick)

Rushing: C -- Johnson 15-99, Terry 9-83, Bierwith 7-55, Owen 7-40, Cornwell 3-0. Totals 41-277. AV -- Moreno 5-74, Apodaca 3-24, Ferrara 7-29, Cruz 1-13, Hardy 2-6, Peters 1-1. Totals 19-147. Passing: C -- Owen 8-11-1 132. AV -- Moreno 19-35-1, 217. Receiving: C -- Cornwell 5-96, Johnson 1-18, Haley 1-11, Guardino 1-7. AV -- Greenan 7-94, G. Miller 5-47, Cruz 3-31, C. Miller 1-13, Knaggs 1-11, Ibanez 1-11, Newman 1-10. Fumbles/lost: California 3/2; Amador Valley 3/3. Records: California 4-0, 1-0 EBAL; Amador Valley 2-2, 0-1.