College of the Redwoods

Five reasons the return of CR football has been a huge success

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — After a thrilling opening six weeks to the season, the College of the Redwoods football team will enjoy a well-deserved bye this weekend.

And that gives all of us a chance to catch our breath and reflect on what has been a very successful and enthralling return for the program so far.

The Corsairs have won four straight games and sit top of the American-Pacific 7 Conference standings after back-to-back conference wins.

More importantly, their return to the football field for the first time since 2019 has been an overwhelming success on many other levels.

Not only are they winning, but they are doing so with a sizable contingent of local players.

On top of that, they have been an exciting team to watch, with all of their games going down to the final few minutes and none decided by more than eight points.

And remember, they’re winning with a roster made up almost entirely of freshmen, which is impressive on its own.

After this weekend’s bye, the Corsairs will try to make it five straight wins when they take on winless Yuba (0-5) on the road.

For now, here are five reasons that reinstating football at College of the Redwoods has been a huge success …

1 — The local players are playing a key role

This time last year, head coach Jason White was an ever-present on the sidelines of H-DNL football games and that has paid off big-time this year.

Not only do the Corsairs feature a large contingent of local players, but many of them are starring for the team, not that we should be surprised by that, considering the quality of the H-DNL in recent years.

Players like Max Hough, Kaleb Price, Levi Cox-Cooley, Sam Schauerman and Tanner Forkner have been as key as anyone, while several others such as Lane Branstetter and Gary Jimenez have also had an immediate impact, among others.

One of the conditions for bringing the program back after it was suspended in 2020 was that there be more local players on the roster, and the Corsairs have certainly lived up to their end of the bargain.

CR will always need to bring in several players from out of the area in order to compete, or even field a roster, but it’s refreshing to see the team win with so many locals, and that on its own makes their return a big success.

Check out Jaydan Burns’ TD catch against Foothill on a throw from Max Hough …

2 — Thrilling games

The schedule makers got it right.

All of the Corsairs games have been close and exciting and not decided until late, including two overtime games, each of which CR won.

The Corsairs certainly have been fun to watch this fall, including a double-overtime instant classic against Foothill two weeks ago.

They have two more home games — against De Anza on Nov. 5 and Gavilan on Nov. 12 — and local fans won’t want to miss them.

3 — Excellent coaching

When you have a roster full of freshmen playing at a very competitive level early in the season, you know the coaches are doing something right.

White has assembled a quality staff that includes Damaro Wheeler (defensive coordinator), Maurice Purify (receivers) and Junior Bean (running backs), and all of the coaches have done their part in quickly developing a young roster and impacting a team that continues to improve week to week.

Eric Helms (QBs), Marcus Coleman (defensive line) and Malachi Pratton (linebackers) round out a talented staff.

4 — They’re winning!

It might sound obvious, but four wins in six games makes this team’s return a success on its own.

This program has bigger goals than just that, but winning games makes everything more fun and creates more excitement around the community.

5 — Building a blueprint for success

More than anything, White and his staff have the blueprint for continued success.

First up, the current roster should only continue to get better and grow together and this team could be really good a year from now if all of the freshmen are back as experienced sophomores.

Secondly, their success and the excitement they are creating will also help recruiting, both locally and outside the area, which will only help solidify the roster moving forward.

And on top of that, when you have a coaching staff that develops players the way they are, four-year programs will pay attention, which in turn will help recruiting and to sustain a competitive program.

3 replies »

Leave a Reply