By Ray Hamill — One way or the other, we’re going to find out a lot about the College of the Redwoods football team this week.
And when the Corsairs host Contra Costa at Community Stadium on Saturday, there will be a lot more at stake for them than a mere win or a loss.
Their character’s at stake.
At least the character of this year’s team is at stake.
There is no denying the disappointment of last week’s blowout loss against Hartnell at the Redwood Bowl, in which the Corsairs were thoroughly outplayed in just about every aspect of the game, losing 62-14.
That loss, however, no more defines this team than a gutsy, high-octane week one performance against a very good Monterey Peninsula side, nor a comfortable win at Gavilan in week two.
What defines a team in any given season is how the players collectively react to the inevitable adversity they will face somewhere along the line, no matter how good or how bad that team might be.
What defines them is the character they display when faced with that adversity. The manner in which they respond to that challenge.
The Corsairs are facing such a challenge this week, and the way they respond to last week’s disappointing — and somewhat embarrassing — loss to an admittedly very good Hartnell side will go a long way toward defining their season.
The loss of starting quarterback Brody Lucero certainly didn’t help matters, although that was only a part of the story.
As a red-shirt freshman, Lucero has looked good early in the season, displaying a lot of promise directing the offense.
A shoulder injury knocked the North Bend native out of the game early, however, and with an appointment to get the severity of the injury checked on Thursday, it remains to be seen if he will be out for the season or back in a couple of weeks.
That opens the door for a pair of freshmen — Alex Adams from Clear Lake and Moise Francois out of Fort Lauderdale — who will split time with the first team in practice this week and who will each get an opportunity against Contra Costa.
Neither of them inspired last week, but they weren’t exactly alone in that department on the CR sideline, and it’s important to remember that the coaches talked highly of both of them long before Lucero went down.
A week practicing with the first team players will also give them a chance to establish better timing with a big-play receiving corps, who themselves will need to up their performance.
What was perhaps most surprising from last week’s loss was the collective display from the receivers, who dropped several catchable balls.
This is a highly-touted group and a group whose character will be tested this week more than that of any other part of the team.
In truth, the Corsairs need to do just about everything better this week if they want to open conference play with a win and grab back control of their season.
One way or the other, we’re about to find out more about the real character of this team.