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Redding Rancheria Player of the Game: Johari Woods

Shasta fullback Johari Woods made up for a pedestrian first half by running for 158 second-half yards in the Wolves' 38-26 win over Enterprise on Friday in River Bowl XXVII. His exploits earned Woods the Redding Rancheria Player of the Game honors. (Photo by Mike Daly / Shasta County Sports)

Johari Woods’ River Bowl XXVII first half was utterly forgettable. The Shasta fullback fumbled two touches in, gained a scant six yards on four carries and saw his Wolves fall behind 16-0 in the first period before trailing 19-14 at intermission.

But Wolfpack coach JC Hunsaker went to the senior – and Woods’ offensive line – and told the group it was going to be responsible for winning the 27th edition of the cross-town rivalry.

“I told Johari he had to be the man right now,” Hunsaker told Shasta County Sports. “The interior guys did a great job opening up some lanes and he ran over the first guy that made contact with him.”

Woods took up the mantle and, along with linemen Jason Kupono Kealiinohomoku, Logan Thibodeau, Aydin Gibson, Bladen and Kane Stankey, pounded the Enterprise defense with 158 second-half yards rushing. Along the way, the senior worked the middle of the field and did the heavy lifting to allow wings James Weaver and Nathan Bova to score three second-half scores in the Wolves 38-26 River Bowl win.

Though TDs are often celebrated above other things, Woods earned this week’s Redding Rancheria Player of the Game for River Bowl XXVII for his 164 yards rushing and putting the westsiders on his back and taking them to victory.

He ran for 158 second-half yards on 18 carries, busting runs of 18, 36, 44 yards. Most of his play calls were designed between the tackles and Woods either found a seam and daylight or found a defender and chose to run him over.

“It definitely started working because they were working,” Woods said, giving credit to his offensive line.

Hunsaker said without the work of Woods and the line, the Wolves’ “Five-peat” might not have happened.

“He got downhill, pummeled some dudes and got us into the red zone and they would tighten up and give us they edge and that’s how we scored. If we didn’t bounce back with the interior play of Johari and our O-line, we wouldn’t have come out of this victorious,” Hunsaker said.

Redding Rancheria Player of the Game

Week Sub-Zero – West Valley 34, Shasta 12 – Cade Lambert, West Valley
Week 0: West Valley 20, Foothill 14Kitt McCloughan, West Valley
Week 1: West Valley 42, Enterprise 28Cade Lambert, West Valley
Week 2: Lassen 38, Enterprise 22Tavin Fowler, Lassen
Week 3: West Valley 48, Central Valley 0Hayden Boyes, West Valley
Week 4: U-Prep 54, Western Sierra 14Trayton Laustalot, U-Prep
Week 5: Anderson 28, Gridley 3Marquice Crowell, Anderson
Week 6: West Valley 60, Anderson 29Cade Lambert, West Valley
Week 7: Foothill 38, Enterprise 0Brandon Merryman, Foothill
Week 8: River Bowl XXVII Shasta 38, Enterprise 26 — Johari Woods, Shasta

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. Williams has coached various sports at the high school level over the past decade, most recently at Shasta High, and is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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