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Defense fuels Shasta in 20-9 upset of #22 Diablo Valley

Shasta College defenders (from left) Braden Rohde, Noah Benson and JaQuay Mills helped the Knights upset No. 22 Diablo Valley College 20-9 at home on Saturday during the Hall of Fame Game at Memorial Stadium. (FILE - Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

REDDING, Calif. – Shasta College’s football team forced three second-half turnovers and Gabe Curtis’ 4-yard touchdown run with 4:29 remaining lifted Shasta to a 20-9 upset of No. 22 Diablo Valley College Saturday at Memorial Stadium for the Hall of Fame Game.

DVC (1-2) opted to kick a 22-yard field goal with 8:18 left to cut Shasta’s lead to five at 14-9. But the Knights answered with a 9-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by Curtis muscling his way over the goal line to make it a two-possession game. Shasta’s defense shut down DVC on the ensuing drive as Noah Benson intercepted Jordan Cooke on fourth down to seal the victory and give the Knights add a second straight win.

“The defense played great all night. We forced turnovers, won third downs and didn’t give up big plays,” said Shasta College head coach Bryon Hamilton.

Shasta College’s coverage is presented by Shasta Orthopaedics.

A 65-yard run by Curtis on the Knights’ opening drive put Shasta at the DVC 1. After three plays of no gain, Tyler Carey took an end-around on fourth-and-goal for an early 7-0 lead.

Curtis fumbled on the next play from scrimmage and DVC capitalized on the short field with Mekel Ealy coming down with a jump ball for a 25-yard score to convert third-and-20. Shasta responded three plays later when Cam Williams hauled in a backside screen and weaved his way down the field for a 61-yard touchdown from Curtis.

“The offense played very physical. The offensive line played well, we ran the ball effectively and we hit some big plays and controlled the tempo of the game,” Hamilton said.

Two weather delays from lightning strikes paused the game from an hour, causing both offenses to get out of rhythm and the Knights went into the break up 14-6.

Shasta’s defense forced two turnovers to open the third quarter – the first with Braden Rohde recovering a Cooke fumble and Benson intercepted backup quarterback Isaiah Newton. The Knights marched into the red zone after both takeaways but Dennis Perez had field goals of 34 and 24 yards blocked to come away with no points.

A 33-yard connection from Cooke to Ealy put DVC in scoring position early in the fourth. But the Knights defense held inside the 10 and the Vikings’ Ray Vallee split the uprights from 22-yards out to bring DVC within five midway through the final period.

One more time Shasta had an answer. Curtis converted two third downs on the following drive, connecting with Williams for 15 yards and Carey for 14 yards to put the Knights in the red zone. DVC jumped offsides on third-and-2 from the 9 and Curtis found pay dirt on the next play to give Shasta a 20-9 lead with 4:29 left.

Rohde sacked Cooke on first down and Benson picked him off three plays later to ignite the home crowd and secure the upset.

Curtis finished 7-of-12 passing for 106 yards with a touchdown and an interception while also leading the Knights in rushing with 83 yards on 20 carries. Eli Cortinas ran the ball five times for 41 yards and Williams finished with three catches for 85 yards.

Reyjon Williams, Kaden Bryant and Bladen Stankey each tallied six tackles to pace Shasta while Anthony Slayton had five tackles, two for a loss, and a sack. Rohde had three tackles – two for a loss – a sack and a fumble recovery.

Shasta plays at #21 College of Sequoias Saturday at 11 a.m.


Shasta College’s Matt Diskin, Jordan Spaschak, Shane Zink, Jerry Brown and Will Camy were honored at the game after being inducted into the Shasta College Hall of Fame the night before … Shasta owns the all-time series against Diablo Valley College 7-5 … Curtis has led the Knights in rushing attempts in all three games this season and is averaging 19.3 attempts per game … The home win snaps a five-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium for the Knights … Shasta has scored on its opening drive of the game in all three contests this season and has scored five of its 12 touchdowns in the first quarter.

A special thank you to our sponsors: Shasta OrthopaedicsRedding RancheriaRAW Restaurant, Clear View Auto Glass, US Cryotherapy – Redding, CAAdamson’s Peak Performance and Tri Counties Bank.

Staff Reports is content produced by the Shasta County Sports team.

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