Knights attempt to play spoiler at No. 24 American River Saturday

Shasta College goes on the road for the final time this season to play American River College in Sacramento on Saturday. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

Two games remain in the 2018 season for the Shasta College Knights, starting with their final road trip at American River College Saturday in Sacramento for the Sierra Pacific Industries College Game of the Week.

The Knights are going to snap a streak of five consecutive winning seasons and are eliminated from playoff contention. But that doesn’t mean the season is over just yet.

“We’re not playing for the postseason, we’re playing to be spoilers, we’re playing for pride,” Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson said.

American River began the 2018 season ranked in the top five in two state polls for its recent success, being atop the NorCal Conference and carrying a target on its back. With Shasta entering with nothing to lose makes the Knights a dangerous team that could give them an edge they’ve been missing all season.

“They’ve been the top dog in the conference for a couple of years and a road win down there would be something special to do and solidify that we’re a team that’s going to be here and fight for everything we’re doing in the future,” Thompson said.

A 1 p.m. kickoff is earlier than usual for the Knights (1-2 NorCal, 2-6), who have had a tough time starting fast this season, being outscored 67-30 in the opening quarter. Quarterback Hoku-Lani Wickard is nearing the 2,000-yard passing milestone this season while sophomore wide receivers Patrick Blake and Karnell Collier each had 575 yards receiving and four touchdowns.

But Blake is a little dinged up in a game last week against Siskiyous and the Knights have been missing running backs Kenio Mike Jr and Matthew McCree for multiple games. Even though the Shasta sideline is thin, it’s not going to prevent them from playing hard for the full 60 minutes.

“We don’t have a lot of guys left to play; we’re traveling down with 56 kids so we don’t have a lot of guys and we’re playing everyone that we’re bringing.”

American River doesn’t have any stat standouts or dominating tendencies but its size is something Thompson notes as a difference between the two teams. Also, the Beavers have played in close games, four of its past six were decided by seven points or less.

“They’re really big across the board and athletic everywhere else,” Thompson said.

Shasta has won eight of its past nine November games and went 3-0 in 2013 the last time the Knights were in the National Division.

By the Numbers

Team Stats comparison (state ranking in parenthesis out of 68 teams)

Shasta College (2-6) American River (4-4)
OFFENSE
253.8 (22) Pass Yds/G 162.5 (54)
149.4 (29) Rush Yds/G 147.3 (30)
403.1 (24) Total Yds/G 309.8 (51)
41% (19) 3rd Down % 42% (15)
63% (35) Red Zone % 73% (16)
25.4 (44) Points/G 20.5 (51)
DEFENSE
266.3 (62) Pass Yds/G 227.4 (40)
165.3 (47) Rush Yds/G 169.0 (50)
431.5 (57) Total Yds/G 396.4 (50)
34.1 (52) Points/G 22.1 (17)
17 (39) Sacks 13 (49)
1 (67) Interceptions 10 (29)

STAT STARS

Shasta
QB — Hoku-Lani Wickard — 1,931 yards, 15 TDs, 13 INTs
RB — Cavin Gillispie — 83 rush, 398 yards, 3 TDs | 11 rec., 87 yards
RB — Kenio Mike Jr — 66 rush, 345 yards, 3 TDs | 13 rec., 134 yards
RB — Matthew McCree — 53 rush, 257 yards, 3 TDs | 7 rec., 48 yards
WR — Patrick Blake — 45 rec., 575 yards, 4 TDs
WR — Karnell Collier — 34 rec., 575 yards, 4 TDs
WR — Peter St. Fleur — 22 rec., 299 yards, 4 TDs
WR — Peter Savrides — 15 rec., 173 yards, 2 TDs
LB — Hunter Margain — 50 tackles, 1 sack, 5 TFL
LB — Zach Thompson — 39 tackles, INT, 2 TFL, 2 Fumble Rec.
DL — Detrius Kelsall — 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL
DL — Torren Calhoun — 22 tackles, 4 sacks, 7 TFL
DL — Cole Parker — 19 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 TFL

Standings

Team   NorCal, Overall
#4 Butte 3-0, 7-1
#23 Sierra 2-1, 5-3
#24 American River 2-1, 4-4
Shasta 1-2, 2-6
Siskiyous 0-2, 2-6
Feather River 0-3, 2-6

All-time series

American River College owns the all-time series 10-9 overall, winning the past three meetings and four of the past five. The two haven’t faced off since 2007.

Updates

Follow us on Twitter at @ShastaCoSports or click here for the stream on Twitter for the game.

About T.J. Holmes

T.J. is a national award-winning journalist who has roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010. He shares his passion for sports and the community with his fiancé Tracy, who works alongside him as a videographer for Shasta County Sports. Story tip: shastacountysports@gmail.com.

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