Photo by Mike Daly
ROCKLIN, Calif. – The 11th ranked Shasta College football team suffered its first loss of the year Saturday, falling on the road to No. 21 Sierra College 44-21 in the NorCal Conference opener.
The Knights turned the ball over a season-high six times in the game and allowed 30 unanswered points following a game-tying drive in the first quarter.
"We weren't the same team today as we were the first five weeks," said Shasta College head coach Bryon Hamilton.
Quarterback Hoku-Lani Wickard connected with James Lee for a 38-yard score midway through the opening period. Sierra took a 30-yard touchdown pass and then intercepted Wickard 45 yards for a touchdown to go up 20-7.
Shasta (5-1, 0-1 NorCal) appeared to cut into the lead before half when Wickard dropped a 30-yard pass into the hands of Carson Marx between two defenders but running back Matt McCree was called for a tripping call to wipe the points off the board. The penalty backed the Knights out of field goal range with 2 seconds left and they couldn't score on the following play.
The Knights held the time of possession edge over the Wolverines 22:06-7:54 but the long drives didn't result in points.
"We answered their touchdown drive and tried to get momentum but committed too many mistakes and it just snowballed," Hamilton said.
Shasta wouldn't score until 5:21 left in the game on Tyler Boston's 3-yard touchdown run. By then, the Knights threw four more interceptions – three from Wickard and another by backup quarterback Kasey Briggs, which was returned for a touchdown. In that span, Sierra (4-2, 1-0 NorCal) scored in all three facets with a 30-yard field goal, a 3-yard run and the pick-6.
The Knights added one more score with 2:12 left on a 37-yard pass from Wickard to Marx.
Wickard completed 23-of-45 passes for 257 yards with two touchdowns. McCree had 63 rushing yards on a season-high 18 carries and added another five catches for 28 yards. Ivan Smith was the leading receiver for the Knights with four catches for 52 yards. Lee had two catches for 44 yards and the score before leaving with a hip injury.
Shasta College's defense which entered the game having allowed 47 points through five games good for second-best in the state, had three sacks – one each from Cole Parker (5 tackles) and Rashard Budd (4 tackles) and a half-sack each from Detrius Kelsall (4 tackles) and Torren Calhoun-Ray (3 tackles. Andermadson Pierre was the Knights' leading tackler with six tackles while Adonis Thomas had five tackles.
The Knights host winless Feather River College Saturday 6 p.m.