Shasta High’s football team celebrates winning the River Bowl trophy for the fourth straight time over rival Enterprise Friday night in River Bowl XXVI. (Photo by Mike Daly)
For the first time in the River Bowl era, the coveted trophy stays on the West side for a fourth straight year.
Shasta High scored on seven of its final eight possessions, including all four second-half drives to bury crosstown rival Enterprise 47-10 in River Bowl XXVI Friday night at Thompson Field in the Redding Rancheria Game of the Week.
The Wolves’ four-peat is the first time the westsiders have reached that mark since winning five straight from 1987-1992, the year before the annual meeting between the two schools earned its name in 1993. Enterprise holds the overall edge in River Bowls 17-9 but Shasta now pulls ahead in the all-time series 33-32-1.
“For so long it was the other way around and now we’re lucky to have four in a row and don’t want to ever lose it,” Shasta head coach JC Hunsaker said, who is 4-0 as the head coach in River Bowls.
Not only did the Wolves (2-3 Eastern Athletic League, 3-5) carve up the Hornets (0-4 EAL, 1-7) on offense, totaling 533 yards in the rout, but the way they were able to find explosive plays on offense could be a sign of the Wolves starting to click for a deep playoff run.
It wasn’t a fast start as Shasta fumbled twice on hand-off exchanges on its first three possessions. Enterprise only capitalized once, turning the second one into a 25-yard field goal from Javier Fernandez for a 3-0 lead.
That advantage would be short-lived.
Kilgore hooked up with Brayden Coon on a 43-yard heave over the middle of the field to go up 7-3. Shasta only needed four plays to score two more times as a 59-yard run from Bryson Kimp set up sophomore James Weaver’s 9-yard TD run, and Alec Meek’s 36-yard scamper was followed by Weaver’s 42-yard TD run for a quick 21-3 second-quarter advantage.
“I really think this is a brotherhood,” Weaver said. “This week we came out and worked so hard that we earned this. When you win with your brothers it just feels so good.”
Weaver finished the night with 94 yards rushing and another 43 yards receiving for a total of four touchdowns.
“(Weaver’s) unstoppable,” said Coon, who turned three catches into 140 yards. “When he gets older as a senior he’s going to be insane. He really is a team player, not selfish at all, works hard in practice, is a great leader and good kid and does his work in the classroom.”
Enterprise scored its lone touchdown with 10 seconds before half when Norberto Revuelta held on to the ball long enough for a 9-yard touchdown on fade pattern from Don Stradley.
The second half was all Shasta as Kilgore hooked up with Weaver for a 15-yard and 16-yard touchdown passes on consecutive drives. Dominic Hicks recovered a fumble and Alex Beltran intercepted two passes – the first in the end zone for a touchback and second on a diving snag. Coon later turned a 20-yard catch into a 67-yard touchdown with his burst of speed and broken tackle around midfield and Josh Akana put the finishing touches on the running-clock fourth-quarter with a 66-yard TD run with less than a minute to play.
“We’re mentally sharp,” Beltran said. “We knew we had a hard challenge this week. We came to play. I’d say size doesn’t matter, it’s either be the hammer or be the nail.”
The loss extends Enterprise losing skid to six games and the Hornets had a tough time moving the ball without starting quarterback and third-year varsity player Leslie Cummings, who broke his left arm in last week’s loss to Foothill. A loss in River Bowl isn’t easy to comprehend for a historic program but head coach Chris Combs reiterated the life lessons that are only learned following a defeat.
“They’re emotional and this type of game should be that way, it should mean something,” Combs said. “At the same time, this is one game in their career, we have two games left on the schedule and this isn’t going to define them.”
Jayden Campbell ran for tough yards in a limited offense that switched from under center and power formations to a double-tight Wing-T throughout the game in an attempt to wear down the Wolves. Campbell had 93 yards on 24 carries and Justin Kelly added 38 yards. Stradley was 4 of 12 for 49 yards and three interceptions.
Kilgore threw for 191 yards and four touchdowns of 7 of 11 passing for a Shasta squad that was in desperate need for a monumental win to springboard them into the home stretch of the season.
“If this is the team we can take the field with every Friday night then I think we can accomplish a lot,” Hunsaker said. “It could be enough to give us a run in November.”
Team EAL, Overall
Paradise 4-0, 7-1
Pleasant Valley 4-0, 6-2
Chico 3-1, 7-1
Foothill 2-2, 4-4
Shasta 2-3, 3-5
Enterprise 0-4, 1-7
Red Bluff 0-5, 1-8