Shasta College buries Sequoias 45-17 for first win

Shasta College sophomore running back Cavin Gillispie breaks free for a big run during Saturday’s 45-17 win over College of Sequoias in Visalia. Gillispie ran for a career-high 157 yards in the win. (Photo by Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports).

VISALIA – It took a month and a seven-hour drive but the Shasta College football team clobbered host College of the Sequoias 45-17 Saturday afternoon at Mineral King Bowl in the Sierra Pacific Industries College Game of the Week.

The Knights (1-4) exploded for a season-high 45 points, scoring three times in the third quarter to pull away from the Giants and head into their bye week with confidence.

“Something we’ve been talking about this whole week was the importance of this game and how big of an impact it has on us going into the bye week and conference play to start the season off with a 0-0 record, so to speak,” Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson said.

Sequoias’ starting quarterback Ryan Johnson injured his shoulder on the second play of the game after breaking off a long run. The Giants’ offense struggled to move the ball against the Knights, who racked up five sacks – one each from Cole Parker, Detrius Kelsall, Torren Calhoun, Payton Harrell and Brannon Litz – in the game.

“Our defensive front has done a great job all year and they applied great pressure all game on the quarterback,” Thompson said. “There was no secondary breakdowns and they played in tight coverage. It wasn’t just a small step, it was a giant stride in the way we need to be playing.”

Shasta scored on its opening drive for the second straight game as Hoku-Lani Wickard hooked up with Peter St. Fleur for a 17-yard touchdown. The Knights picked up chunk plays on the ground on that possession from Cavin Gillispie, Matthew McCree and Johnny Iniguez, which would be a theme on the day.

Gillispie rushed for a game-high 157 yards on 20 carries and caught three passes for 21 yards. McCree rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts and Iniguez found the end zone once and totaled 40 yards on nine carries.

Sequoias and Shasta traded short fields in the opening period and Wickard went back to St. Fleur for an 8-yard score to go up 17-3 at half. Patrick Blake’s 52-yard reception set up the touchdown as the Knights running and passing game complemented each other throughout the day to keep the Giants off balance defensively.

Shasta put up 21 points in the third – the only time it scored three times in a quarter this season. McCree followed Gillispie’s 34-yard jaunt with a 10-yard touchdown run, Wickard threw a 16-yard touchdown to Karnell Collier for a 31-3 lead and Iniguez found pay dirt from 5 yards out for a 38-10 lead with 0:14 left in the third.

“The whole mission for our game plan was to be physical and control the line of scrimmage,” Thompson said. “They had seven, eight, nine guys in the box and we wanted to go right at them.”

The Knights forced a fumble on the ensuing kick and Blake made a one-handed grab for a 16-yard touchdown catch from Wickard for a 45-10 lead one minute into the fourth quarter.

Wickard guided Shasta’s offense to 452 total yards while completed 12 of 25 passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns. Blake caught four passes for 87 yards and a score, St. Fleur’s two catches went for scores and Collier had two receptions for 23 yards and the touchdown.

Shasta plays next at home against Sierra College on Oct. 13 to begin NorCal Conference play.

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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