By Ray Hamill — It takes them a while to get going, but once they do the Corsairs are an exciting bunch to watch.
College football returned to the North Coast for the first time in three years on Saturday afternoon, with College of the Redwoods falling 30-27 to San Jose City College at the Redwood Bowl.
The loss was the second straight to start the season for the Corsairs, who are fielding a team for the first time since 2019 and have just one sophomore on the roster.
In both games, they battled back from a three-score deficit to give themselves a chance late and they have outscored their first two opponents by a combined 27-3 in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Teagan Gaither was involved in all four CR touchdowns on Saturday, throwing for three and running in for another.
With the Corsairs trailing 30-13 early in the fourth quarter, Gaither got the late rally started with a 12-yard TD run.
With three minutes remaining in the game, the Washington native threw a TD pass to receiver Jayden Burns to pull the Corsairs within three points.
The visitors, however, held on late for the win in what was their season opener.
“I thought Teagan played way better in the second half, and the receivers started to make a lot of plays, which we had talked about before the game,” head coach Jason White said.
Gaither also had two TD passes late in the first half, as the home team responded to an early 16-0 deficit to snatch some much-needed momentum going into the break.
The first came on a 21-yard pass to running back Levi Cox-Cooley, a Del Norte graduate who had a productive afternoon running the ball and appears to have established himself as the No. 1 back in a deep pool of options.
Another former Del Norte player, tight and Kaleb Price, added a two-yard TD reception with six seconds remaining in the half to cap a quick scoring drive after the Corsairs received a punt at the San Jose 41-yard line with just 25 seconds on the clock.
They trailed 23-13 at the break.
For the game, Gaither completed 23 of 36 passes for 280 yards, a huge improvement from a week ago.
On the other side of the ball, the Corsairs had problems containing athletic Jags quarterback Jared H Julian, who scored on a 44-yard run midway through the second quarter to give his team a 16-point advantage.
But for the most part they played well defensively for the second straight week, especially the D-Line, which is shaping up to be the strength of this year’s team.
“Our D-Line played lights out again,” White said. “I can’t even count how many hurries they had.”
Kick returner Mason Priddy was another big bright spot for the Corsairs, and he looks capable of taking it to the house almost every time he touches the ball, with several impressive returns on Saturday.
With the loss, the Corsairs dropped to 0-2.
Next week, they travel to Coalinga to play West Hills.