OAKLAND – After tallying the go-ahead score three times in the final minute of the 2021 spring season, the Knights couldn’t continue that magic into the early part of the fall campaign.
The No. 21 Shasta College football team fell to Laney College 30-29 Friday night to suffer its first loss of the season. Knights coverage is sponsored by Shasta Orthopaedics, Tri Counties Bank and Redding Rancheria.
Trailing by one with 54 seconds left to play, Knights’ quarterback Toren Tuttle completed two first down passes to Cam Williams and Josiah Graham to reach Laney territory. But Dennis Perez’s 58-yard field goal was blocked on the final play, giving unranked Laney (1-2) its first victory.
The Knights (1-1) struggled with pass protection throughout the game with Tuttle often being forced out of the pocket and throwing on the run. He completed 8-of-29 passes for 61 yards with a touchdown and an interception while taking three sacks as part of his net rushing of 12 yards.
Laney was advantageous in the game, capitalizing on Boston’s fumble on the first play from scrimmage with a touchdown five plays later.
But the Knights scored 16 straight points in the first half to take a 16-7 lead. Sophomore running back Tyler Boston, fresh off his career-high performance in last week’s opener, went off-tackle to find pay dirt from 61 yards out, Perez nailed a 32-yard field goal and Boston hauled in a 12-yard pass from Tuttle for a score.
Boston finished with 115 total yards while Jayden Gordon led the Knights in rushing with 86 yards on six carries.
Laney answered by operating the 2-minute drill to find the end zone on a 22-yard pass from Carson Jarratt with 22 seconds before half to cut the lead to two. The Eagles opened the third period with a six-play scoring drive capped by a 2-yard run from Jacob Harris, who also found the end zone two drives later from 5-yards out for a 27-16 lead.
Despite mistakes compounding from penalties, one of which negated a pick-six touchdown by Maurice Outten on a blocking in the back infraction, the Knights found themselves in position to win late in the game.
Tyler Carey ran in a nine-yard wide receiver end-around and a 61-yard run by Gordon set up a 22-yard field goal for Perez. Laney mishandled a punt, giving Shasta the ball at the Eagle 6. But that drive stalled, resulting in Perez’s 24-yard field goal – his third make in as many tries – to put Shasta ahead 29-27 with 10:32 to go.
Settling for field goals once Shasta got inside the Laney 10-yard line would eventually come back to hurt the Knights.
Laney matched the field goal with a 39-yarder of its own to regain the lead 30-29 with 6:45 to go. Shasta was forced to punt on its ensuing drive and Tuttle was intercepted near midfield on the ensuing possession.
The Knights’ defense came up with a stop to get their offense one more try. Tuttle connected with Williams for 14 yards and hit Graham on an 11-yard quick-out to bring Perez in for an improbable 58-yard field goal try. But his attempt was blocked, resulting in the Knights’ first September loss under head coach Bryon Hamilton.
Tyrese Randall, Anthony Slayton and Elijah Grooms each paced the Knights with seven tackles while Grooms had an interception. Slayton had three tackles for a loss, Isaiah Moore recorded Shasta’s only sack and Outten intercepted two passes, including one in the end zone to prevent a touchdown.
Shasta’s defense held Laney to 265 yards of offense, 72 of which were rushing.
Dennis Perez’s three made field goals tied a single-game school record, which has happened eight other times, the last two by Kendall Raschein in 2017 (vs. Yuba and Foothill) … Tyler Boston has five straight games with at least 115 total yards and six in his past seven … Boston’s 83 rushing yards gives him 1,369 career yards and puts him seventh all-time in program history, passing R. Blackledge (1974 & 76) … Shasta’s 14 percent third down conversion rate was the lowest of Bryon Hamilton’s 16 games as the Knights head coach