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Shasta County Sports Player of the Week: Eli Cortinas, Enterprise

Hornets’ star running back earns Shasta County weekly honors

Enterprise High's Eli Cortinas is the Shasta County Sports Player of the Game for Week 1 after rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in the Hornets' 21-14 win over Anderson. (Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

A fail safe plan usually means sticking to what works.

Enterprise High’s head coach Chris Combs feared the physicality of Anderson’s line and the inside running game was not going to be a matchup that turned in the Hornets’ favor.

But he also remembered he had Shasta County’s leading returning rusher in his backfield. And despite the unfavorable weather, the reliable No. 26 delivered.

Enterprise senior running back Eli Cortinas rushed for 141 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns in the 21-14 road win over Anderson Friday night. On a night where the rain, sopping wet field and spurts of hail, the run game worked — if just long enough and productive enough to eek out the victory in the season-opener. Enterprise managed 171 total yards on the evening, meaning Cortinas accounted for 82 percent of its offensive production.

Cortinas broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage – seemingly scoring the first points for the 2021 spring season in Shasta County. He scored on the exact same play in the second quarter, racing around the left edge and down the sideline for a 30-yard touchdown.

When the game got tight in the second half, it was Cortinas who shouldered the load for the Hornets. Combs called Cortinas’ number 12 straight times to open the second half – every play run by the Hornets in the third quarter went through the shifty tailback. Enterprise turned from a shotgun spread offense to a power sets with I-formation with Cortinas as the focal point. It may not have resulted in any second-half points but it burned time off the clock.

71 PHOTOS OF ENTERPRISE-ANDERSON

“I didn’t feel comfortable putting the ball in the air,” Combs told Shasta County Sports. “We went under center more and it was all about ball security and being conservative.”

For Cortinas, there’s not a better feeling than having that confidence from your head coach and teammates.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” Cortinas said. “I’m thankful for it. I do what I can to make sure my team is satisfied with me.”

Shasta County Sports Player of the Week

Week 1: Eli Cortinas | Enterprise

T.J. is a national-award winning journalist passionate about local news and telling the story no one else knows about. He’s roamed sidelines, baselines and bleachers in the North State since 2010 and is a content producer from sunup to sundown. Sports are a hobby he shares with his wife Tracy where they’ve spent many dates around a field or court of some sort.

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