photo by Mike Daly
HUMBOLDT, Calif. – Shasta College's football team rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge College of the Redwoods 35-31 Saturday at the Redwood Bowl at Humboldt State University.
The victory gave the Knights the outright Pacific 7 League title, earning a spot in their third straight CCCAA American Division Championship Bowl Game. Shasta (6-3), which has won six straight, hosts Golden Coast League champion Monterey Peninsula at 3 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
"It's a testament to the great coaches here with coach (Bryon) Hamilton and coach (Steve) Campos coordinating their sides of the ball," Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson said. "And it's a testament to where this program is at right now. This team has high expectations to win championships and we don't waver from that. We demand that type of attention to detail, and the kids are locked in to keep it going."
Trailing by 10 with 8:39 left and starting quarterback Trent Darms out with an injury, backup signal caller Daniel Lewis led the Knights to back-to-back scoring drives for the victory. Lewis found Patrick Blake in the back of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass on third and 18 to cut the deficit to 3.
The Knights' defense forced a three-and-out to set up their offense at the Corsair 49. Lewis trusted in freshman receiver Blake again for a 31-yard gain, and three plays later freshman Jaquez Durham converted a third and long by racing 15 yards on an end-around to go ahead 35-31 with 2:09 left.
Redwoods marched to the Shasta 20 but turned it over on downs after three incompletions as the Knights held on for the win.
"Things got bleak when we lost Trent but this team never lost faith in thinking they could win the game," Thompson said. "They don't have that give-up button, they didn't press it. They just kept fighting. The team rallied around Daniel, Patrick had a couple big catches and the defense came up when it had to. Great all-around team victory."
Lewis completed 5 of 9 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown in relief of Darms, who threw for 112 yards and ran for 24 yards before being treated for concussion symptoms, Thompson said.
Shasta was outgained 515-351 and had the ball for nearly 17 minutes less than Redwoods, but made plays when it counted.
In a game that had five lead changes, Knights went ahead 14-7 after the opening quarter thanks to Justin Hellyer's 20-yard scoring run and Durham hauling in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Darms.
Redwoods tied it at 14 at the break and Shasta led 21-17 after the third period thanks to DeMarco Grayson's 45-yard touchdown run.
Redwoods scored on three straight possessions in the second half, the final two on a passing and rushing touchdown from quarterback Walt Fountain.
But Shasta rallied with Lewis completing all three of his passes on those final two possessions, mixed in with a misdirection run from Durham for the game-winning score.
Durham finished with 54 total yards on two rushes and three catches. Hellyer ran 16 times for 87 yards and a touchdown, and added another 24 yards receiving on three catches. Grayson rushed for 60 yards on seven carries, and Blake led the Knights with 56 receiving yards on two catches.
Freshman Zachary Thompson totaled a team-high 14 tackles for the Knights, followed by sophomore linebacker Drew Faircloth's nine tackles. Freshman defensive back Tyreko Mattox had two interceptions to increase his team-lead to seven for the season.