photo by Mike Daly

HAYWARD – Shasta College's football team opened the season with a 27-7 road loss to host Chabot College Saturday.

The Knights surrendered 27 straight points before scoring their only touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard pass from Hokulani Wichard to Patrick Blake with 13:08 remaining.

"The guys played hard and competed to the end," Shasta College head coach Craig Thompson said. "We made far too many mistakes that we are addressing and must fix."

Shasta (0-1) changed conferences in the offseason to the NorCal Conference, which put them in the National Division – known as the "upper" division in the California Community College Athletic Association. With that comes a tougher schedule than in the past four years.

Part of the mistakes Thompson referenced were four turnovers, three of which were fumbles. The offense produced 288 yards, including 193 through the air. Starting quarterback William James was 5 of 13 passing for 55 yards before being replaced by Wichard, who completed 12 of his 18 passes for 138 yards with the lone touchdown and an interception.

"The offense struggled to find a rhythm, especially in the first half,' Thompson said. "William showed moments of being the type of QB that can go out and lead us to success, but also showed a lack of operating and managing the offensive system. He was dinged on a scramble but the decision to go with Hoke was mainly to see if he could get the offense on track. He provided a spark and generated a few nice drives."

The starting offensive line had two days of practice together as a unit due to injuries and finding the right starters, Thompson said. But he noted they "played exceptionally well under the circumstances." Shasta was led in rushing by Cavin Gillispie, who totaled 41 yards on seven carries. Kenio Mike Jr. added 24 yards on 10 attempts and Matt McCree gained 23 yards on five carries.

Chabot (1-0) scored on a 12-yard run late in the first quarter and went up 20-0 before halftime on a 10-yard pass and a 3-yard run. Quarterback Chayce Akaka added a 11-yard touchdown run in the third and the Knights couldn't match it.

Karnell Collier caught four passes for 69 yards, including a 40-yarder, to lead the Knights in receiving. Mike Jr. turned his four receptions into 54 yards and Blake, Peter St. Fleur and Dy'Shone Hayes each caught two passes for less than 20 yards each.

Kegan Edwards was the top tackler for Shasta with six stops while Zach Thompson had four tackles.

Shasta hosts West Hills Coalinga Saturday at Memorial Stadium in the home opener. Kickoff is set for noon. The Knights were happy to finally get on the field after starting a week late due to the Carr Wildfire, which also canceled their scrimmage two weeks before the season started.

"We must clean up and button up all phases of the game," Thompson said. "We lacked comprehension of assignments in all aspects of the game so a big focus this week is to master assignments. Our play truly reflected the crazy unpredictable month we all have been experiencing due to the fires and air quality. I'm truly expected to see a much more polished team this week and our play drastically improve for our game against West Hills."