Photo by Maddie Harrell

REDDING, Calif. – The running game finally found its groove for the Shasta College football team as the No. 19 Knights beat winless Feather River College 20-16 at home Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

Shasta racked up a season-best 231 rushing yards with both Tyler Boston and Matthew McCree surpassing the 100-yard rushing mark in the win. It's the first time since Nov. 9, 2013, that the Knights had a pair of 100-yard rushers in the game.

"There was a big change of pace in the way we ran today," said Boston, who ran for 115 yards on 19 carries. "We hit the holes harder like we needed to."

Leading by one late in the fourth quarter, Shasta's Matthew Ramirez made a 35-yard field goal to stretch the lead to 20-16. The Knights got the ball back but couldn't run out the clock and had to punt away. Except punter Josh Sanchez mishandled the snap and punted it off the ground, resulting in an illegal kick to set Feather River up at the Shasta 30 with 2:08 left.

But the Knights' defense didn't allow a yard as the Golden Eagles turned it over on downs, stopping quarterback Jalen Dummett on fourth down to seal it.

"We'll take pretty wins, we'll take ugly wins, we'll just take wins, period," said Shasta head coach Bryon Hamilton.

Shasta churned out tough yards with McCree and Boston, rotating the duo in and relying on them to physical punish Feather River – the game plan all along according to Boston.

Feather River's 31-yard field goal was the only points in the opening quarter, but Boston put Shasta ahead with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second. Quarterback Hokulani Wickard completed passes to Kentrel Petite, Jusiah Gabel, Brandon Morris and McCree to set up the score. Ramirez's 33-yard field goal before half put the Knights up 10-3 at the break.

Wickard was picked off to start the third quarter and Feather River took advantage, scoring quickly on a 7-yard pitch from Jaiden Jones. But the missed PAT would come back to hurt the Golden Eagles.

Shasta leaned on the run game again with a six-play drive capped by McCree's 3-yard scoring run to lead 17-9. McCree ran for 103 yards on 13 carries in the game.

"We felt like this game and the next three we'll have to run the ball to be effective in our offense," Hamilton said. "I'm proud of the way we blocked and the tenacity our running backs carried. We have to keep building that confidence."

Feather River pull closer with a Dummett 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper but didn't elect to go for the 2-poiint conversion. Ramirez's field goal with 4:54 left put Shasta ahead four and Shasta linebacker Adonis Thomas intercepted Dummett on the ensuing drive.

Although the Knights had to punt a few plays later and was flagged for an illegal kick, the defense didn't let Feather River pick up any momentum. Shasta kneeled in victory formation to move to 6-1 overall and pick up their first NorCal Conference win.

Wickard was 15-of-25 passing for 147 yards with Morris catching three of those passes for a team-high 48 yards. Smith hauled in four passes for 47 yards to go with 43 rushing yards and Petite had four for 28 yards.

Joe Merkel led the way with 12 tackles for Shasta while Thomas had 11 tackles and Cole Parker added Shasta's lone sack on the day with eight tackles.

Team NorCal, Overall
[7] Butte 2-0, 5-2
[8] American River 2-0, 5-2
[17] Shasta 1-1, 6-1
[22] Sierra 1-1, 4-3
Feather River 0-2, 0-7
Siskiyous 0-2, 0-7