In the playoffs, it’s win or go home – and as ugly as Colusa’s win over visiting Mt. Shasta might have been on Friday, the RedHawks punched their ticket to the Northern Section Division IV semifinals.
Between the two teams, there were as many penalty flags (20) thrown as there were points scored, but it was the No. 4 seed RedHawks who came out on the right end of a 13-7 game.
“Sometimes, an ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” Colusa head coach Matt Jessee said.
Colusa (8-3) actually had more penalties – 14 – than points and were held to less than 200 yards of total offense, but they won the turnover battle and generated just enough offense when they most needed it.
Mt. Shasta (5-4) was the first to score, jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Colusa answered in the early goings of the second, when Conner Saso lofted a deep ball to Leo Guzman, who out-jumped a Mt. Shasta defender for a 25-yard touchdown catch. Guzman converted the extra point to tie the game at 7-7, where it would remain until after the half.
Colusa found the end-zone again on their second drive of the second half. The RedHawks started with the ball at their own 31-yard line, but were pushed back to around their own 13-yard line by a couple of penalties, and faced a second and long. A long scramble by Saso and a pass interference penalty helped the RedHawks dig themselves out of that hole, and they relied on the legs of Christian Lyss form there. Colusa kept feeding Lyss and he delivered, ripping off gains of 14, 6, 12, 3 and 10 yards on the drive, before carrying a Mt. Shasta defender into the end-zone for a 6-yard rushing touchdown. After a failed extra point, Colusa was up 13-7.
That missed extra point would nearly prove disastrous. Mt. Shasta had a real chance to even the score in the fourth quarter. The Bears marched 56 yards 13 plays, helped along by a 15-yard penalty on Colusa, to set themselves up with a first down and goal to go inside Colusa’s 10-yard line. Colusa’s defense held firm, stopping Mt. Shasta’s Gage Kincade just shy of the end-zone on fourth down.
“Our kids have guts,” Jessee said. “We had every opportunity to lay down and fold, but our guys never gave up. It was a slug-fest for four full quarters, culminating with a classic goal line stand to give us the win. This team is built on defense, so it was only fitting that we finished the game the way we did.”
The RedHawks offense took over on downs and ran out the clock – after having an apparent 97-yard rushing touchdown by Brendan Garcia called back on a penalty – to seal the victory.
Lyss was Colusa’s leading rusher, with 85 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Saso added 38 yards on nine carries, and completed 3-of-6 passes for 37 yards and the touchdown to Guzman.
On defense, Riley Stice led Colusa with five tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and an interception. Conner Saso also had an interception for Colusa.
Next up, Colusa is on the road against No. 1 seed Durham (10-1) in the NSCIF D-IV semifinal. The winner of Friday’s game will play the winner of No. 2 seed Winters and No. 3 seed East Nicolaus.
East Nicolaus 43, Pierce 7 – The No. 3-seeded Bears traveled to Trowbridge to face the No. 3-seeded Spartans on Friday, and were blown out by East Nicolaus for the second time this season, this time 43-7.
East Nicolaus scored all of it’s 43 points in the first half. Pierce finally got on the board after the intermission. Pierce ended their season with a 5-5 record. No stats were provided by Pierce.
Winters 49, Williams 6 – Absent star quarterback Daniel Carrion, No. 2 seed Warriors still found a way to throttle the visiting No. 7 seed Yellowjackets in the opening round of the NSCIF D-IV playoffs, cruising to a 49-7 victory. Winters racked up 369 yards on the ground on 49 carries. Four players scored rushing touchdowns for Winters, including borthers Dalton and Carson Lowrie, each of whom finished with over 100 yards rushing. Carson Lowrie, a sophomore starting in place of Carrion, also completed 9-of-13 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns. Dalton Lowrie hauled in four of those passes for 101 yards and two scores. No stats were provided by Williams. The Yellowjackets finished their season with a 6-5 record.
Chester 21, Maxwell 0 – The Panthers fell to the Volcanoes in the opening round of the NSCIF D-V playoffs. Maxwell finished its season with a 5-6 record. No stats were provided by Maxwell.
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