GILROY, Calif. – Shasta College's football team downed winless Gavilan College 37-11 Saturday in Gilroy for its second straight win.
Despite an 0-3 start to the season for a program which had three losses in the past two years combined, the Knights have turned it around, fueled by Shasta's last-minute win over Feather River on Sept. 30.
"It was strong concern for us as a staff with an emotional win last week to be truthful right away this week and not allow ourselves to fall into situation to have success and think we don't have to work for it," Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson said. "The kids embraced the attitude and we continued to work hard and keep getting better.
Gavilan (0-6) struck first with a 44-yard touchdown pass on its third play of the game but its lead was short-lived.
Shasta (2-3) took a 7-6 lead later in the opening quarter on a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jaquez Durham. The Knights blocked a field goal on the ensuing possession and scored on its next three drives before half. Kendall Raschein nailed a 32-yard field goal, quarterback Trent Darms hit B.J. Brown in stride down the middle of the field for a 44-yard touchdown, and Durham scored on a 5-yard end-around to lead 24-6 at the break.
The scoring onslaught continued in the third quarter for the Knights as Justin Hellyer raced up the middle untouched for a 17-yard touchdown to build a commanding 31-6 advantage.
Shasta thrived behind its defense, which tightened up after surrendering points on the opening drive of the game. Kenji Maumasi forced a fumble and recovered another, the Knights blocked a field goal, forced five three-and-outs, and only allowed the Rams to run three plays inside the red zone on the night – all of which followed a run back from Gavilan's blocked field goal late in the third quarter.
"We have to keep working hard on the field and don't break," said Archez Marks, Shasta freshman defensive lineman, who had one of Shasta's three sacks in the game. "We got a bunch of three-and-outs and didn't slip. We had a couple problems with the coverage but we fixed that and kept going."
Gavilan couldn't capitalize from the blocked field goal, settling with a 32-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the third period to make it 31-9. The Rams got their final points on a safety, tackling Raschein in his own end zone on a botched punt attempt with 8:13 left to play.
The Knights added one more score for good measure as Cavin Gillispie made a couple of guys miss, gashing the Ram defense up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:31 remaining.
Shasta has outgained opponents in four straight games, holding the edge over Gavilan 362 to 338. Darms completed 9 of his 24 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. Hellyer paced the Knights on the ground with 118 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries – his second 100-yard rushing effort of the season. Durham caught four passes for 68 yards to lead Shasta in receiving.
Drew Faircloth registered a team-leading nine tackles in the win followed by Maumasi with five tackles.
Shasta has its bye week this Saturday and returns to action at home on Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. with a Pacific 7 League game against Yuba College.