photo by Mike Daly
Shasta College's football team couldn't overcome two first half turnovers that resulted in points in a 21-10 home loss to Santa Rosa Junior College Saturday night.
The Knights turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions in which the Bear Cubs scored on two of them. Santa Rosa turned a Hokulani Wickard interception into a 14-yard touchdown on their opening possession and later scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass that followed a blocked punt for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Santa Rosa's first two scoring drives came from short fields with the starting position at the Shasta 23 and 14. Shasta (0-3) buckled down other than that, especially on defense. The Knights allowed only 23 rushing yards on 27 attempts and adjusted to the quick-hitting passing game the Bear Cubs thrive on. Shasta's first points came on a safety early in the third quarter when the Santa Rosa punter stepped out of the back of the end zone after a bad snap.
"Our defense played a heck of a game and didn't let the game get out of hand for us and that was with them being put in poor field position at times," Shasta College head coach Craig Thomson said. "The defense battled hard an gave us opportunities late in the game and we weren't able to capitalize."
Sophomore linebacker Zach Thompson intercepted a pass out of half at the Santa Rosa 30. But the Knights went backward before punting.
Santa Rosa scored on its next drive, finding the end zone on a 49-yard touchdown pass with 4:33 left in the third for a 21-2 lead. Shasta moved the ball all over the field during the game, mainly with big plays to sophomore wide receiver Patrick Blake, who finished with nine catches for 121 yards. But Shasta couldn't punch it in once it got to the red zone. The Knights came away with only eight points on four trips inside the Bear Cub 20-yard when Wickard connected with Karnell Collier for a 16-yard touchdown with 4:21 left to make it 21-10.
"It's just little mistakes and not capitalizing," Thompson said. "Sometimes we're close but we need to find ways to get the ball in the playmakers hands and it's not quite on the consistent basis right now. It's a maturing process but we need to see it start accelerating."
For Shasta, it goes on the road against Sacramento City College and doesn't return home until Oct. 13 following its bye week. It's the second straight year the Knights have started 0-3 but there's no reason to panic just yet.
"I don't think we're that far away," Shasta College freshman defensive back Kegan Edwards said. "Trust the process, trust our coaches and trust ourselves and stay position (and) we'll see how it changes quickly."
Wickard was 22 of 38 for 290 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked six times. Kenio Mike Jr. led all rushers with with 47 yards on 15 carries to go with a 44-yard reception.
Peter Savrides caught two passes for 48 yards and Collier had 36 yards and a score on two receptions. Hunter Margain's six tackles and a sack was a team-high for Shasta while Adonis Thomas had five tackles and Detrius Kelsall had four tackles and a sack.