The Corsairs answered the call on Saturday.
One week after getting blown out against Hartnell, College of the Redwoods responded in the best fashion possible, beating Contra Costa 44-13 at Community Stadium.
The win lifts the Corsairs to 2-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference play, and was achieved with a far better showing.
“We played probably our worst game of the season last week. Again, Hartnell is a great team, but we didn’t play our best game. Today we came out and played much better,” CR head coach Frank Borba said. “I wouldn’t say we were perfect, but without doubt we beat a talented team.”
The Corsairs had a particularly impressive day on the defensive side of the ball, holding the visitors scoreless in the second half and coming up with several big plays.
Offensively, freshmen quarterbacks Alex Adams and Moise Francois each also had a much better performance than when they were thrown in cold against Hartnell after starter Brody Lucero was forced out of the game.
Adams and Francois split time on Saturday, and each impressed, throwing for four touchdowns between them.
And just as key, a talented group of big-play receivers had a big game, stepping up to the challenge one week after seeing way too many dropped passes in what Borba described as an uncharacteristic performance from them.
Finney emerging as a leader
Former Eureka standout Marcus Finney led the way again with a pair of touchdown receptions, and a move on one of them that left the coaches in awe.
“He had a spin move that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a move like that in real life. The only time I’ve seen it was in a video game,” Borba said. “He’s the leader of that group.”
The entire receiving corps stepped up their game.
“The receivers were challenged and they responded in every way shape and form,” Borba said.
In addition to Finney’s two scores, Micha Fontenot-Cornely and Mitchell Hopkins each had a TD reception, while running back Elijah Hicks ran in for one.
The Corsairs also had a safety off a blocked punt.
Defensively, Levi Scribner, a former Del Norte standout, and Juan Villafan each had an interception.
Quarterbacks rise to the challenge
But it was the play of the two quarterbacks that stood out as much as anything, with Adams throwing for three TDs and Francois one.
A week of reps with the first team players at practice paid off for the duo.
“For me, the two things that stood out was the play of the young quarterbacks — they were challenged and they had to step up, and they both played well — and the second thing is the defense,” Borba said. “They pitched a shutout in the second half.”
Lucero’s status is still uncertain, but the coach admits it doesn’t look good and that he will likely receive a medical redshirt.
If that’s the case, Adams and Francois will be relied on going forward, and if Saturday’s game is any indication, that won’t be a problem for the Corsairs.
“These two young men stepped up today and led us to a win,” Borba said.
Redwoods travels to De Anza next weekend.