By Ray Hamill – The Corsairs’ early-season performances in football are gaining them some attention.
This week, Redwoods is up to No. 7 in the latest coaches poll for American Division teams in Northern California.
And they’ll surely continue to climb if they can knock off Hartnell, one of three teams tied for No. 1 in this week’s poll.
The game will take place Saturday at the Redwood Bowl at 1 p.m., the second home contest for the Corsairs, who fell in week one to Monterey Peninsula, which is tied with Hartnell and Reedley for top spot in the poll.
The Corsairs responded to that loss with a big road performance at Gavilan a week ago, pulling away early in the second half to win 44-28, and improving to 1-1 on the season.
Through both games, the Corsairs have displayed a high-octane, big-play offense, and fans can expect more of the same against Hartnell.
“That’s kind of what we’re committed to,” CR head coach Frank Borba said. “We’ve been this way for some time, and we certainly have the weapons to do so this year.”
A pair of former local prep standouts have played a big part in that this year.
In week one, Micha Fontenot-Cornely of St. Bernard’s had a big game with a pair of touchdown receptions of 61 and 83 yards, while last week, Eureka’s Marcus Finney scored three touchdowns, including one on a kick return, to go with a blocked punt.
Add to the mix receiver Zach Loveland, who has impressed in back-to-back weeks and leads the team with 317 yards receiving on 15 receptions and has three TDs.
Quarterback Brody Lucero has impressed at times, getting the ball to these playmakers, and he has completed 38-of-77 passes for 748 yards and eight touchdowns.
The redshirt freshman, however, also has five interceptions as he continues to grow into the college game.
The Corsairs’ 11 touchdowns is the eighth highest among 67 teams in the state.
On the defensive side of the ball, Dakota Moore is off to an impressive start and leads the team with three sacks.
Hartnell presents a different challenge
Saturday’s game at the Redwood Bowl features a Panthers team that is coming off a 17-14 win over Foothill.
Expect the visitors to feature a fast-pace no-huddle spread offense.
“On offense, they’re very similar to us,” Borba said. “And they do a good job of getting the ball to their playmakers in space.”
The Panthers are averaging 330.5 yards on offense, most of them through the air.
The good news is the Corsairs defense is used to practicing against an offense like that.
Conversely, when the Corsairs have the ball, they are expecting the visitors to come after them.
“We expect them to bring a ton of pressure and force us to get the ball out quick,” Borba said. “On offense, we have to get the ball out quick, and we have to have our receivers and running backs break their press and get out in space.”