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Atkinson burns Sierra with his big-play ability
Sierra High quarterback Adrian Valencia stretches for extra yardage Friday against visiting Granada. For additional photos, visit . - photo by Photo by CHRIS LEONARD
Things were looking mighty bleak for Sierra High when the visiting Granada Matadors of Livermore jumped out to an early two-touchdown lead.

But the last thing that the Timberwolves were going to do was roll over on their home turf, even if the Matadors had a couple of big-time college prospects that made their presence known early.

The Timberwolves offense soon found themselves hitting their stride, coming back to hold the lead before finding themselves in a shootout against the well-rounded attack of Granada.

In the end, however, the Matadors proved to be too much to handle, dealing Sierra a 56-42 loss in preseason action that exposed some glaring problems with the Timberwolves’ defense.

“I was proud of how our offense played tonight, and how we were able to put up points when we needed to,” Sierra head coach Jeff Harbison said. “But defensively we just kept giving up the big plays, and that’s not something that’s going to fly when we take on Oakdale in two weeks.”

Starting quarterback Adrian Valencia found his groove late in the first quarter to help keep the Timberwolves in the game.

His 12-yard touchdown pass to Thomas Contreras-Holmes with 5:59 left in the second gave Sierra its first and only lead of the game, 21-14. It was a 28-28 halftime score with Valencia hitting Grant Widmer for a 25-yard score with 1:40 remaining.

Running back Aaron Manuta racked up 107 tough yards on the ground in order to help Valencia set up the pass. But their efforts were not enough to keep pace with a Granada squad that utilized the legs of George Atkinson to help open up the lead and put the game out of reach of Sierra.

Atkinson scored on 71- and 82-yard catches in the first quarter and would later add 14- and 64-yard scores on the ground in the second half.

Valencia proved to be offensive kingpin for Sierra with his work under center, passing for 140 yards and three touchdown passes to add to his scrambling TD run.

“I was proud of how our offense played tonight, but there are still a lot of things that wer’re going to have to work on,” Manuta said. “We can’t keep giving up this many points, and this game was a good chance to show us what Oakdale is going to be like in two weeks.”