MODESTO -- Aaron Zwahlen's fired his final pass for Downey High Friday night. The next time we see the 6-foot-3 righty behind center, he'll likely be wearing a Hawaii uniform.
"I've had a great time with these guys, and Coach (Jeremy Plaa)," said Zwahlen, a three-year starter who committed to the University of Hawaii this past summer. "I don't regret a thing. I'll never forget these three years."
He'll probably want to forget how his last two seasons ended, though, with lopsided losses in the postseason.
Much like last season, his Knights were crushed by a powerful Sacramento team.
This time it was Granite Bay rolling to a 21-point halftime lead on its way to a 56-21 rout of the Knights in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 quarterfinals.
Del Campo trounced the Knights in the first round in 2011, jumping ahead 21-0 on the way to a 34-12 victory.
Like last year, the Knights lacked the strength and size to stay with their opponent.
Granite Bay (9-3) led 35-21 at halftime and blew it open early in the second half. Downey could not stop the Grizzlies on the ground or in the air.
Downey had no answer as GB owned the line of scrimmage on both sides and was able to attack with a crew of running backs and quarterback Grant Caraway (four TD throws and he was nearly flawless in the pocket).
With no running game, it was up to Zwahlen to keep his team close. He threw for 380 yards and three TDs, but also had three picks the first was returned for a TD.
Zwahlen ends his career with 8,600 passing yards, 88 TDs throws and 18 TD runs. He fired 49 TD passes this season Zwahlen led the state in TD passes much of the fall and finished his final year with 3,850 passing yards.
Downey's best chance to get in the game came in the final minutes of the first half, driving from its 30 to the Granite Bay 20 with 1 minute left. The Grizzlies ended the threat on Tony Milo's interception. It was the second of the night Grant Powers had returned a pick 38 yards in the first quarter for a 14-7 Grizzlies' lead.
The teams swapped TDs in the opening 5 minutes, GB going up 7-0 just 2 minutes into the game, Downey answering on Zwahlen's 58-yard strike to Michael Falepouono. After a Downey stop, Zwahlen was trying to hit a receiver across the middle and hit the safety in the numbers. The ball was a step behind the receiver.
The Grizzlies, who pounded Napa 52-0 a week ago, got two two quick TDs to go up 28-7 Caraway throwing a pair of 8-yard TDs before Downey produced the play of the night with its air attack.
On the GB 38, Zwahlen lofted a pass deep down the right sideline. Blake Lopes jumped for the ball, along with a trio of defenders, and he emerged from the pile with the ball.
Downey couldn't struggled to stop GB's running attack, which alternated fly sweeps around the edge with runs up the gut by John Cooley. That moved the downfield and GB culminated its drive with another 8-yard TD from Caraway.
The Knights' last gasp came in the third quarter, after two goal-line stops left GB with a fourth-and-inches. GB faked it to Cooley, drawing the linebackers, but Caraway rolled right to flick a TD pass to his tight end for a 42-14 lead 3 minutes into the second half.