Royalty kicked off the varsity game with the crowning of their new queen, Rebecca Randolf, and king, Cody Free. After an incredibly difficult week, Free smiled at the screaming crowd that were the ones holding their collective breaths after Free suffered a devastating tackle a week ago.
RedHawk Coach Matthew Jessee said that he was with Free at the hospital and the experience was harrowing. Coming back from the experience, the RedHawks will tribute each game to their friend, who will support the team from the sidelines while he recovers.
“We’re dedicating everything to (Free) from here on out,” said Jessee. “We just have to do it at the highest of levels. That’s what we’re doing it for, so we got to make sure it’s good.”
And making it good was exactly what the RedHawks did. Senior Manuel Morales opened up the game by running in a touchdown immediately from the start.
Kicking for Colusa, senior Diego Arenas sent the pigskin airborne, which was caught by Willows’ Issac Vang, who was promptly tackled by RedHawks Nico Lopez along with Morales.
Vang’s catch kept the Honkers’ advancement across the field until Morales stole the ball and the show with another touchdown, which was topped with an extra point.
Arenas got in another kick but this time it was RedHawk Christian Lopez tackling Vang’s attempt to score for Willows.
Two more RedHawk touchdowns were made before a personal foul was called. Morales received a minor injury that he iced after the game, but said that it was nothing major.
Second quarter started off 21-7 with RedHawks in the lead and ended at 42-7.
Silvino Luna took a hard tackle and was able to limp off the field. After another touchdown, unfortunately, Arenas took a hit strong enough that first responders needed to bring him off the field. A personal foul was called.
Morales was able to re-enter the fray and completed a 40-yard pass before the end of the quarter.
RedHawk Roberto Serrano was also injured and then it was followed by another touchdown. No extra points for Colusa were gained from Allan Vega’s touchdown.
The juxtapose between the victory of touchdowns and upset from injuries is a part of the game.
“It’s a fine line,” said Jessee.“Got to go hard because otherwise, we’re not prepared. But too hard then we have some guys getting injuries, so it’s a fine line that we flirt with all day, every day.”
Morales said the secret to the team’s success was dedication during the week.
“This is the result of our hard practice,” said Morales, about the win.
Looking ahead, Morales said that he was looking forward to the next game against Durham, which he predicts is going to be good.
“They’re always a good team; they have good players,” he said. “We’re going to have to practice really hard for Friday.”
Jessee said that he is not planning to reinvent the wheel on offense or defense in preparation for Friday’s away game.
“We’re not gonna do anything exotic,” said Jessee. “We’re just gonna run our stuff and do it really, really well; run it better than we have been running it.” ■