REDDING, Calif. – The 19th ranked Shasta College football team turned the ball over five times and couldn’t keep up with No. 24 Sierra College, falling 38-15 at home at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
Shasta (1-2 NorCal Conference, 4-3) was forced to play from behind from the start, fumbling the opening kickoff to give Sierra a short field. The Wolverines (1-1 NorCal, 4-3), who boast a top 10 scoring offense in the state, wasted no time taking advantage, scoring two plays later as the first of four first-half scores and eventually built a 31-0 lead heading into the final period.
The Knights struggled to get in rhythm offensively. Despite outgaining Sierra at half, Shasta failed to come away with points on all three first half drives that reached the red zone. Dennis Perez missed a 33-yard field goal, quarterback Toren Tuttle was intercepted while being dragged down and trying to throw it away, and Tuttle was strip sacked with the Knights knocking on the door late in the second period.
“We squandered the first half away,” Shasta College head coach Bryon Hamilton said. “We’re not firing on all cylinders right now offensively so when we get into the red zone we need to score.”
Shasta entered ranked 12th in the state in red zone efficiency, scoring on 22 of 28 trips, but only converted 2 of 5 opportunities on Saturday. Meanwhile, Sierra scored touchdowns on three of the four drives that started in Shasta territory.
Sierra went up 10-0 on Hiran Velasquez’s 32-yard field goal and opened the second quarter by blocking a Ty Thomas punt. That set up the Wolverines for a short field with Qyntyn Pilcher-Colbert throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Matt Smart. Sierra added another score on its ensuing possession with Michael Wortham connecting to Dom Myers for a 4-yard touchdown.
Shasta threatened to cut into the Sierra lead twice before the break but Tuttle turned the ball over twice at the Sierra 9 and the Sierra 6.
Coming out of half, Sierra capped a 14-play, 93-yard drive that took up 7 minutes, 51 seconds with a Pilcher-Colbert 5-yard touchdown pass to Eli Mizra to go up 31-0.
“Their offense moved the ball on us and they converted a few first downs,” Hamilton said. “They’re one of top offenses for a reason. We have to match scores and we couldn’t do that.”
The Knights picked up momentum on a trick play with Jayden Gordon throwing a halfback pass to Cameron Williams for a 63-yard gain to flip the field. Tyler Boston scored two plays later. Shasta added another score on its following possession with Tuttle finding Williams for a 34-yard gain to set up Tuttle’s 2-yard end zone dive. Tuttle found Williams for the 2-point conversion to make it a two-possession game at 31-15 with 4:08 to play.
But Sierra recovered the onside kick and Mike Payton rumbled for a 33-yard touchdown up the gut to ice the game.
“We’re a young team that’s not building confidence right now,” Hamilton said.
Tuttle was 16-of-26 passing for 140 yards and an interception while adding 44 rushing yards and a score on 10 carries. Boston carried the ball 13 times for 78 yards and a score. Williams hauled in five passes for a career-high 118 yards.
Anthony Slayton was the leading tackler for the Knights with 10 tackles while Aiden Allsop-Anderson had eight and Nikki Kamelamela had seven stops. London McCall and Keiton Spengler each recorded a sack and Tavian Wallace intercepted a pass.
Shasta hosts winless Santa Rosa on Saturday at 6 p.m. but it’s anything but a walkover opponent, Hamilton said.
“We’ll have our hands full the rest of the year,” Hamilton said. “They played one of the toughest schedules in Northern California and took Butte to overtime. They’ve played all the best teams tough.”
Shasta has intercepted a pass in six straight games and has 18 takeaways on the year … Cameron Williams went over 100 yards receiving in the game, this was the first 100-yard receiving performance from any Knight this season … Williams’ five catches tied a game-high with Jayden Gordon, who caught five passes against Chabot … Sierra has won seven straight meetings in the series.
#12 American River 17, #11 Butte 10
#24 Sierra 38, #19 Shasta 15
Siskiyous vs. Santa Rosa – PPD (COVID)
Team NorCal, Overall
#12 American River 3-0, 5-3
#11 Butte 2-1, 4-4
#24 Sierra 1-1, 4-3
#19 Shasta 1-2, 4-3
Siskiyous 0-1, 1-5
Santa Rosa 0-2, 0-7