By Ray Hamill — Bring on Feather River.
On Saturday afternoon, College of the Redwoods won a seventh straight game to go to 7-2 on the season and set up a much-anticipated clash against the Golden Eagles in their regular-season finale at Quincy next weekend.
That game will decide the American Pacific-7 Conference and guarantee the winner a home bowl game.
“If you had told me we would be playing for a conference championship on the final weekend back at the start of the season, I’d have said, ‘yeah, I”ll take that,'” head coach Jason White said. “This group has been an awesome group to coach.”
Getting to compete for a championship this fall is a remarkable achievement for a CR program that didn’t field a team in either of the past two years and features a roster made up almost entirely of freshmen
The Corsairs will carry plenty of momentum into the big showdown after a comprehensive 55-7 win over Gavilan at the Redwood Bowl on Saturday.
The home team decisively took control of the game with touchdowns on six straight possessions in the opening half and led 41-7 at halftime.
Quarterback Max Hough had another outstanding day and is enjoying a remarkable freshman season.
The former Fortuna Husky threw for five touchdowns for the second straight week, all of them in the first half to five different receivers.
“He’s been playing really well,” head coach Jason White said. “He’s just got better and better, and watching his progress and improvement from the spring to now, it’s leaps and bounds for him.”
Hough has been sensational since taking over as starter against Foothill in early October and has now thrown for 18 touchdowns and just one interception in five starts.
He has accounted for at least five touchdowns in three of those five starts and has not thrown a pick in four straight games.
“He’s become a student of the game, and he’s got a lot of tools,” White said. “He throws a good ball and he’s got good pocket presence. He can do a lot of things.”
Hough connected with receiver Damario Watson on a 34-yard scoring pass to open the scoring and added a 16-yard TD pass to Jayden Burns late in the first quarter.
He would throw three more TD passes in the second quarter, all in the final 3:19 of the half, as the home team quickly put the game out of reach before the break.
Check out some of the first-half TDs from Saturday’s game above …
Mason Priddy also scored a TD on a 57-yard punt return to add to Gavilan’s misery early in the second quarter, and the CR defense held the visitors to just one scoring drive all afternoon while allowing a season-low in points.
The Corsairs pressured Gavilan QB Justin Munday all afternoon and finished with five sacks.
“Our defensive front, it doesn’t matter who we put in there, those guys get after it,” White said.
Another former Fortuna Husky, Levi Nyberg, also had a good afternoon at running back.
Nyberg scored a pair of TDs, rushing seven times for 27 yards and a TD and pulling in three catches for 20 yards and a TD.
Del Norte’s Kaleb Price added a six-yard TD catch to put the Corsairs up 21-7 with 3:19 remaining in the first half, and CR would add two more quick touchdowns before halftime, both of which were set up on takeaways by the defense
A Jayden Sandusky fumble recovery set up a 29-yard TD pass from Hough to Donte Hurt, and a Jack Hartman interception just two plays later set up a 13-yard TD pass to Nyberg.
Hartman, Lane Branstetter, Julian Garcia, Marcus Irby and Chase Steubing each had a team-best four tackles in the win, with Irby adding 1.5 sacks.
Che Jimenez also had an interception to set up CR’s second TD.
Tyrus Arakawa also had a productive day running the ball and finished with 77 yards on 11 carries. Arakawa closed out the scoring with a three-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, as the back-ups got plenty of game time in the second half.
Emmanuel Igbonagwam added 46 yards on six carries, while Watson led the receivers with 70 yards on five receptions, followed by Daryl White, who had 69 yards on two catches, and Hurt, who had 64 yards on three receptions.
The loss was the eighth straight for the Rams, who dropped to 1-8.
The win lifts the Corsairs to 7-2 and should be enough to learn them a bowl game.
The question now is whether they will get to host that bowl game, which would be a well-deserved honor and a fantastic achievement on the team’s first season back after a two-year hiatus.
A win at Feather River would guarantee a home bowl game, and they could even get to host one with a loss.
Categories: College of the Redwoods, Football, Fortuna
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