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Sierra Pacific Industries College Player of the Game: Special Teams

Special teams unit account for 20 of 26 points for the Knights

Shasta College's Dashawn Gregory returns a fumble for a touchdown on a punt in the second half of the Knights' 26-3 home win over Chabot College Saturday. (Mike Daly/Shasta County Sports)

Special teams can be a finicky part of a football team. More often than not, they can be blamed for losing the game, whether it be a missed field goal or a penalty on a kick or punt return.

But when a win is in large part because of special teams? Now, there’s a night to remember.

Shasta College beat Chabot College 26-3 Saturday at Memorial Stadium to open the 2019 season and yep, you guessed it, the special teams unit was a major contributor in the victory. The Knights scored 20 of their 26 points because of the oft forgotten aspect of the game, which earned the special teams unit the Sierra Pacific Industries College Player of the Game.

Ivan Smith boosted the team and the crowd with his 73-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the second quarter. He took it down the right sideline and cut across the grain, made a guy miss and sprinted into the end zone.

GALLERY: 42 photos from Shasta College’s 26-3 win over Chabot in the season-opener

GALLERY: 46 photos from Shasta College’s season-opener against Chabot College

Matthew Ramirez nailed a 23-yard field goal and squeaked in a 43-yard field goal in the second quarter to build a 12-3 lead. George Fountain unit recovered a fumble to set up Shasta with opportunistic field position and resulted in a scoring drive — the only offensive touchdown of the game for either team. On the ensuing Chabot possession, Dashawn Gregory scooped up a loose ball the Chabot punter bobbled and scored.

“We talked before the season about being the best in special teams,” said Shasta College head coach Bryon Hamilton, who also attributed to his special teams coordinator Anthony Cavalli for having his guys ready. “It can be the difference in a game and the specials scored 20 of our 26 points.”

When the special teams unit accounts for nearly three touchdowns, it’s a safe bet they’re going to be a standout for the game. On side note, punter Joshua Sanchez forced a fumble on a punt but an earlier offensive penalty negated the turnover for the Knights. But that would have been another big play for the special teams unit.

Sierra Pacific Industries College Game of the Week

Week 1: Shasta College 26, Chabot 3 — Special Teams

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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