With his team playing from the shadow of its own goal post, Big Valley Christian football coach Brian Berkefeld called a play designed to get only a few yards.
“We were backed up and trying to get out of our own end zone,” the first-year coach said. “We were trying to get the ball moving ... we needed to get our offense going.”
It got going, all right.
Trailing 7-6 to Turlock Christian, quarterback Gunnar Selover spun and handed the ball off to fullback Joshua Grabowski.
The senior burst through the line of scrimmage and veered into space. He outran two defenders along the home sideline, avoiding a diving tackle near the 15-yard line, to complete a 93-yard touchdown run.
The highlight catapulted Big Valley to the Central California Athletic Alliance victory and launched Grabowski’s star.
His run was the longest in California, according to Hudl, and appeared on a top-plays highlight produced by the website.
“He’s not a big fullback, but he’s a tough fullback,” Berkefeld said. “At this level, you don’t always have the benefit of size. Hopefully, you run into a kid that has heart and is tough.”
Grabowski checks both of those boxes.
An accomplished wrestler, the 5-foot-8, 150-pound senior plays both ways for the Lions. He also starts at middle linebacker and serves as one of the team’s captains.
He finished with 145 yards and two touchdowns on just five carries, guiding the unbeaten Lions to a 32-7 victory over the Eagles. Grabowski is averaging 9 yards per carry and ranks second on the team in rushing touchdowns with six.
“He’s been super coachable and does all the things you ask him to do,” Berkefeld said. “He’s one of the leaders on the team because he’s tough. He represents what we want the program to be.”
He’s incredibly humble, too.
After sprinting 93 yards and winning a footrace with the Turlock Christian secondary, Grabowski didn’t boast much less celebrate. He hugged a few teammates in the end zone and ...
“He didn’t say much on the sideline,” Berkefeld said. “Just ‘thanks, thanks, thanks.’ That’s the kind of kid he is.”
At 6-0, the Lions (3-0 CCAA) are off to the second-best start in program history.
In 2008, Big Valley Christian finished the regular season 9-0, but lost to Bradshaw Christian in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII playoffs.
The Lions host Delta Charter on Friday for their homecoming game.
“It’s been awesome. Not many first-year coaches go 6-0 to start their careers,” Berkefeld said. “To walk into a place that already had kids and a foundation was a really great situation.”