Brian Pearson | Williams Pioneer Review
For the second week in a row, the Colusa RedHawks varsity football squad started a contest off slow. This week, however, they did so against the defending state champions, and the East Nicolaus Spartans made them pay for it, handing Colusa a 53-28 loss.
For one and a half quarters, the RedHawks had no answers for the Spartans on either side of the ball. East Nicolaus scored on each of their first four possessions, while Colusa failed to notch a first down in their first three.
And while 14 unanswered points at the end of the first half gave the RedHawks hope heading into the locker room, their rally proved insufficient to bring them back from a 28-0 hole.
Early on, the big play proved to be the RedHawks’ bane: The Spartans jumped out to a 28-0 lead by scoring on plays of 35, 29, 65, and 30 yards.
In the Spartans’ opening possession, following a Colusa three-and-out to open the game, quarterback Steven Brown found a streaking Wyatt McCollum for a 35-yard touchdown strike.
Following the score, a short kickoff bounced off of a Colusa player’s hands and was recovered by the Spartans at the Colusa 37 yard line. Three plays later, Brown took the ball on a quarterback keeper and scampered 29 yards to make it 14-0.
Colusa’s next possession was another three-and-out, but the RedHawks forced a fumble on the punt return and recovered at the East Nicolaus 40 yard line.
Colusa was unable to capitalize, however, and gained only five yards before turning the ball over on downs. On the next play from scrimmage, Nolan Goyet took a hand-off and sprinted 65 yards to put the Spartans up 21-0.
On their ensuing drive, Colusa finally began to show some life. In a drive that started at their own 39 yard line, Colusa marched deep into East Nicolaus territory. Quarterback Wade Townsend connected with Graeson Bell for 22 yards, and four plays later hit Ben Rainsbarger for 28 yards. The drive ultimately stalled at the East Nicolaus 11 yard line, after two passes fell incomplete in the end zone on third and fourth down.
Starting the drive in the shadow of their own goalpost, the Spartans rode a couple of big plays en route to the end-zone: Goyet ripped off a 34 yard carry that put the Spartans in Colusa territory and Brown scored from 30 yards out to cap the drive.
With East Nicolaus now sporting a 28-0 lead in a game that hitherto had all the makings of a blowout, Colusa showed signs of life.
The RedHawks defense made their first stand in the second quarter, and finally kept the Spartans out of the end-zone. A well-placed punt put the RedHawks at their own 10 yard line, but running back Lucas Davison turned the poor starting field position into pay-dirt in one fell swoop.
After falling victim to big plays early, the RedHawks benefited from them.
With seven minutes remaining in the half, Davison took a hand-off up the middle from Townsend, ran through a huge hole created by center Justin Davies, bounced outside, and scampered untouched for a 90-yard score.
After the kickoff, the Spartans started their drive at their own 29. Four plays later, on 1st and 10 from his own 45, Brown was picked off by Colusa cornerback Danny Bedolla, who returned the errant throw for a touchdown. Colusa was flagged for clipping on the interception return, however, and the ball was placed at the East Nicolaus 45. Colusa would go on to score in dramatic fashion on a two yard plunge by Davison. His second touchdown followed a pass interference call on fourth and goal from the four yard line, which gave Colusa a second chance.
Back in striking distance after being on the precipice of a blowout, the RedHawks nearly got the break they needed at the beginning of the third quarter, on the opening drive for East Nicolaus. After slipping out on a screen with two blockers in front of him, the only thing standing between Spartans running back Wyatt McCollum and the end-zone was Lucas Davison.
Davison met McCollum at the five yard line, hit him low, and sent the running back careening through the air. McCollum fumbled the ball into the end-zone, but no RedHawks were around to fall on it for the touch-back. Instead, the Spartans recovered the ball for a score. The Spartans missed the extra point, making it 34-14.
Although Townsend would hook up with Graeson Bell on a 20 yard touchdown pass to bring them within 13 on the following possession, the RedHawks could not find a way to stop the high-powered East Nicolaus offense to close the gap.
The Spartans scored 19 unanswered points before Davison grabbed his third score against the Spartans backups, coming on a 60-yard run with just over four minutes left in the contest.
East Nicolaus finished with 517 yards of offense, including 433 yards rushing and 84 yards passing.
Colusa put up 416 yards of offense, with Davison leading the way on the ground. Davison finished the night with 17 carries for 175 yards and three scores. Townsend was 11-22 with 155 yards and a score through the air.