College of the Redwoods

Big plays lift the Corsairs to their second straight win 

Photos by Ray Hamill./ – CR’s Mason Priddy breaks free on his way to the end zone after an interception late in the first half of Saturday’s game.

By Ray Hamill — Big plays were the difference on Saturday, as College of the Redwoods won for the second straight week on a beautiful afternoon at the Redwood Bowl, getting the better of Monterey Peninsula 34-28.

And the Corsairs did it with a big showing in all facets of the game, scoring two defensive touchdowns, two offensive touchdowns and one on special teams

“A lot of people play to not make mistakes, and we teach our guys you’ve got to play to make plays,” Redwoods head coach Jason White said. “And we did that today.”

In a very entertaining showdown, the home team scored on a pair of pick-sixes either side of halftime, the second of which gave them their first lead of the game and a lead they would not relinquish.

Mason Priddy, who is enjoying an outstanding season as a kick returner and DB, had two huge plays in the first half, including returning an interception 65 yards for a touchdown with just 20 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Earlier in the game he blocked a Monterey field goal attempt, which was recovered by teammate OJ Mosley and returned 70 yards for a TD.

Defensive lineman Gary Jimenez, a Eureka High grad, also got in on the scoring when he returned an interception seven yards for a TD early in the second half after Del Norte’s Tanner Forkner had partially blocked a pass.

As for what impressed White most about the win, it was obvious.

“The amount of big plays we made, especially on defense and special teams,” he said.

Check out Gary Jimenez’s pick six from Saturday’s game below …

After struggling to contain the visiting offense early on — the Lobos scored on two of their first three possessions and pieced together long drives on three of their first four — the CR defense quickly settled into the game.

“Coach (Damaro) Wheeler tries to simplify things so our guys can play football,” White said of the defense.

They certainly did that.

Defensive tackle Julian Garcia was instrumental once again on that side of the ball and was “an animal again today,” according to the coach.

He also had an early fumble recovery that led to CR’s opening score, a nine-yard TD pass from quarterback Teagan Gaither to receiver Damario Watson.

Watson has become one of Gaither’s favorite targets early in the season and the partnership continued to flourish early on Saturday, while fellow receiver Jayden Burns also made some key catches.

Trailing 21-20 at halftime, the Corsairs quickly took control of the game early in the third quarter, following Jimenez’s pick six with a second offensive touchdown on their next possession.

Running back Levi Cox-Cooley capped a 13-play, 81-yard drive with a 14-yard TD run to stretch the lead to 13.

Gaither left the game with an injury in the second half and was replaced by Max Hough, who did a good job directing the offense the remainder of the way, as the Corsairs went largely to their ground game to control the tempo.

Hough did throw a couple of interceptions, although White was more than happy with what he saw from former Fortuna Husky, who ran the ball effectively.

“Max made a couple of big plays,” White said, pointing out how his ability to run the ball is a big plus. “And honestly those interceptions weren’t his fault … I was happy with what he did.”

The Corsairs failed to find the end zone in the fourth quarter but the defense held firm until giving up a fourth TD in the final seconds with the outcome already decided at that stage.

It was also an emotionally charged game, mostly because of the physicality and a few questionable calls on both sides, all of which worked to the Corsairs’ favor

“That was probably the most emotional game we’ve played all season,” the head coach said. “It was fun to coach.”

White also praised the play of Priddy, whom he described as an exceptional athlete.

“He makes a lot of plays,” White said.

Tyse Whigham also had a good game along the defensive line, and he wasn’t alone.

Linebacker Chase Steubing had a fumble recovery for the Corsairs, while Jack Hartman had an interception.

Linebacker Daegan McClary also made some big tackles on defense and always seemed to be around the ball.

CR improved to 2-2 with the win and will play a second straight home game next week when a very high-scoring Foothill College team visits the Redwood Bowl.

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