It had been almost two full calendar years since the last time the annual Granite Bowl was played, 728 days to be exact.  On Friday night, if even just for a couple hours,  the last year and a half of masking, quarantining, vaccines, etc.. seemed to be a distant memory and things seemed normal as Porterville and Monache renewed hostilities on the gridiron for the 52nd time in the rivalry's history. For the second straight year the Panthers won the right to keep the rock on their campus,  winning a thrilling and emotional game 14-12.

For Monache it will have to wonder what could have been as some key mistakes cost it a chance to get the rock back across town.

It started on the opening drive as Monache drove down inside the PHS 15 thanks to a 50 yard run by quarterback Brysn Hornsby. But a fumbled was recovered by the Panthers Jacob Espinoza at the 11 yard line. 

The Panthers would take the ball down the field and into the red zone on the strength of Kayden Boosalis' arm, who connected on his first four passes of the night. But a great defensive play the Marauders' Ashton Tilton put PHS in a 4th and 14 and Boosalis' fourth down pass sailed through the hands of a leaping Joseph Noriega to turn it over on downs.

The Marauder offense would then go to work as it put together a 16 play drive that covered 74 yards and took 8:13 off the clock, ending when Horsby scored on a bootleg from 9 yards out on third down.  Another key setback for Monache happened when it was unable to kick the extra point and had to go for two. MHS didn't convert and led 6-0.

Jonathan Ruiz would return the kickoff 50 yards down to the Monache 48 to give the Panthers great field position on their next drive. But Monache's Tony Castillo intercepted a pass at the MHS 15. The Panther defense would hold Monache to a three and out and would get the back back at the MHS 45 after a short punt but once again the Panther offense could get nothing going and would have to punt, downing the ball at the MHS 2 yard line with 2:40 left. 

With PHS already burning two timeouts in the opening half Monache could have elected to run the clock out and take its 6-0 lead into the halftime locker room. Instead the Marauders took a chance and threw the ball deep into double coverage and the pass was intercepted by the Panthers Erik Odsather and returned down to the MHS 35. A facemask call would set PHS up at the 20 and this time the offense was able to push it across as Jaret Garcia scored from 3 yards out. James Atkinson booted the PAT through and it was PHS who took the lead into the halftime locker room 7-6, a huge momentum boost for PHS because Monache had outgained the Panthers 169 to 73 in the opening half and had run 28 plays to the Panthers 12.

Monache took another chance that would backfire on it to open the half, deciding to try to surprise PHS with an onside kick which was recovered by the Panthers at their own 48. PHS would capitalize on the great field position and go 52 yards on 7 plays, with Garcia pushing it across the goal line from 5 yards out. The Atkinson PAT put PHS up 14-6. 

PHS was in a favorable position with 9:33 left in the game after a shanked punt gave it the ball at the Marauder 49. Instead of running some clock PHS threw deep on first down and it was intercepted by the Marauders' Victor Ayon at the 10 yard line with 9:18 to go.

Hornsby and the Marauders would put together a gutsy drive to give MHS a chance to tie it up, with Hornsby using his legs and arm to get the ball inside the PHS 5. After an illegal chop block moved the ball back to the 15, on fourth down Hornsby would find Jacob Vazqez in the back left corner of the end zone for a 15 yard TD to get the game to 14-12 with 2:30 remaining. Needing the 2 point conversion to tie the game Hornsby once again looked the way of Vazquez but his pass fell incomplete and PHS still led 14-12.  

PHS was able to recover the onside kick attempt and on third and 10 Boosalis would take off on a QB draw and pick up just enough to get the first down., forcing Monache to use all of its second half timeouts. PHS was able to run the clock down to just 19 seconds before Monache got the ball back.  

Hornsby would run for 10 yards to pick up a Monache first down and then Monache spiked the ball with 7 seconds remaining. With one play left the Marauders threw short to Tyler Ishida on a 5 yard crossing pattern and just before being tackled Ishida threw the ball backwards and hit a Marauder lineman who picked it up and pitched it back to Hornsby who started to run down the right sideline.  Problem is the PHS team had already come out onto the field to celebrate and Hornsby was eventually tackled. Flags were thrown and after a short discussion and an explanation to both coaches it was determined the game was over.

Hornsby led all players rushing 15 times for 111 yards and a score. He also completed 12 of 21 passes for 119 yards and a score.

For the Panthers they were led on the ground by Garcia who carried 16 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Boosalis connected on 8 of 12 passes for 55 yards.

For the night Monache outgained Porterville 297 to 173.  

PHS finishes the regular season 4-5 and they were 2-2 in EYL play, with one game being canceled due to poor air quality.

The Marauders finish 4-6 and 1-4 in league play. Both teams will compete in the playoffs starting this Friday.  

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