QUINCY, Calif. – Shasta College's football team can breathe a little easier after beating Feather River College 29-27 Saturday to pick up its first win of the year in dramatic fashion.
Freshman quarterback Trent Darms capped a 14-play, 86-yard drive by firing a laser into the hands of freshman wide receiver Patrick Blake for the game-winning 24-yard touchdown with 3 seconds remaining.
"I've never been so happy in my entire life after making a single play," Blake said. "It was crazy looking to the sideline and seeing everyone erupt."
Shasta (1-3) took its first lead of the season on a 37-yard field goal from Kendall Raschein at the 12:00 mark of the opening quarter. DeMarco Grayson punched in a 7-yard touchdown run and Darms found B.J. Brown over the middle for a 6-yard touchdown pass for a 17-6 lead at half.
The Knights opened the third quarter with a scoring drive as Darms hooked up with Karnell Calloway on 24-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone for a 23-6 lead.
Shasta didn't trail until 2:03 left as Feather River (1-4) erased Shasta's 10-point fourth-quarter lead with a two touchdown passes in an eight-minute span. The Knights allowed only 88 yards passing in the game, 81 of which came on those two scoring drives as the Golden Eagles scored on passes of 11 and 15 yards.
But Darms, in his fourth start at quarterback, wasn't fazed. And neither was his supporting cast.
"Starting that drive felt like everything was against us and it felt like it's not going to work out," said Darms, who completed 19 of 36 passes for 278 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. "But we made plays after plays to get the win."
Darms connected with Brown for a 14-yard gain on fourth and 10, found Grayson for 17 yards up the middle and went back to Brown to the sideline for 5 yards to stop the clock. Shasta called timeout with 9 seconds left after Calloway came down with a 10-yard gain in bounds for a first down. The next play, Darms delivered a bullet in the seam into the hands of the outstretched Blake for the 24-yard game-winning score.
"Everyone was clutching up the whole entire drive so I had a feeling it was going to come down to one big play, I just didn't know who was going to do it," said Blake, who finished with three catches for 33 yards. "I got the opportunity to do so and I know if anyone else got the ball they would have done the same thing."
For a Knights team that had fourth-quarter comebacks fall short in each of their first three games, the victory was a relief after losing the lead, said Shasta head coach Craig Thompson.
"This was a signature win for us right now and it will propel us to even greater heights," Thompson said. "If we lose that game the way we end up giving the lead up late in the game then that would have been devastating. This is a tremendous win and boost in our faith in what we're doing and faith in each other with the ability to get it done when we had our backs against the wall."
The Knights outgained their opponent for the third straight game, holding the edge 335 to 329 over the Golden Eagles. Grayson led the way on the ground with 17 carries for 77 yards and Calloway was the top receiver with five catches for 123 yards. Drew Faircloth registered a team-best seven tackles followed by four tackles each from Jarod Fountain, Demetrious McGruder and Archez Marks.
Shasta plays at winless Gavilan College in Gilroy on Saturday with a 1 p.m. kickoff. You can listen to the game on the Shasta Sports Network.
photo by Mike Daly