Rarely is a football game won or lost on one play. However, one play can sometimes dictate the flow and momentum of a game.
Friday, that one play was a 100-yard interception pick-six by Shasta safety Zach Wilkes. He is this week’s Redding Rancheria Player of the Game after the Wolves beat Foothill 42-14 in the Tri Counties Bank Game of the Week.
After a Layton Dunlap turnover deep in Shasta territory, the Cougars looked to close gap before halftime. A score would’ve cut the Foothill deficit to 21-14 heading into the locker room.
The home team faced a third-and-goal from the 9 with under 10 seconds left in the half. Cougars’ QB Davis Smith got his team set, looked over the defense on his pre-snap reads and readied for the ball. At the same time, the Wolves’ coaches were yelling at Wilkes to watch slot receiver Aidan Hathaway on an inside slant route.
Foothill had momentum but Zach Wilkes picked off Smith and returned it 100 yards for the TD.
— ShastaCountySports (@ShastaCoSports) April 10, 2021
The snap came, Davis took a two-step drop and let the ball fly for Hathaway. But Wilkes, who’d adjusted two steps inside on his pre-snap read, jumped the route and picked the ball off at the goal line.
The speedy junior took off toward the Shasta sideline, made an inside cut and then it was a footrace to the other end zone.
And when he found pay dirt, the half had expired and the Wolves’ lead, which looked to possibly be only seven, suddenly ballooned to 21 as the visitors carried that momentum into the intermission and into the second half.