Football team suffers its first conference loss this season

The Knights capitalize on Comet injuries to win 34-21

By Robert Clinton, Sports Editor

The Football team suffered its first loss of the season, traveling to Redding and losing in a convincing fashion 34-21 to Shasta College (6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Pac 7) on Saturday.

The loss was an outcome that was foreseen by observers of Comet football since the three-point 16-13 win on Oct. 16 against Yuba College.

Contra Costa College was scheduled to return to the comfort of Comet Stadium to face Mendocino College for sophomore day this upcoming Saturday at 3 p.m., but that game has been cancelled.

Since their matchup against Yuba, the Comets (7-1 overall and 3-1 in the Pac 7) have been plagued by nagging injuries and tasked with attempting to contain three of the best running backs in the state.

“We had not played any disciplined teams until today and we got exposed,” CCC linebacker Justin Mills said. “Guys were not doing work in the weight room, and when we tried to tackle (Knight running back Connor Silveria) some people just couldn’t get him down.”

Silveria (35 carries for 135 yards) was more than a handful for the CCC defense. Leading the conference in yards with 1098 and touchdowns with 15, he added to his totals in both categories.

In the team’s two previous games, running backs racked up a total of 284 yards against the Pac 7’s first place Comet football team.

In Redding, CCC got on the scoreboard first finishing up a 9-play 80 yard drive that resulted in a 19-yard touchdown reception by Malcolm Hale (three receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown) from backup quarterback Louis Michael (eight for 12 passing for 101 yards with one touchdown and interception).

Michael was in at quarterback because Comet starter Cameron Burston (seven for 16 for 67 yards one touchdown and one interception) suffered an injured shoulder on the second play of the game against Shasta.

After the initial Comet score, Shasta took complete control scoring the next five touchdowns in a row.

During the run, the Knights extended their lead to 21-7 by the midpoint of the second quarter.

Silveria was the catalyst of the Knights’ offense, scoring a one-yard touchdown to tie the game at 6:28 of the first quarter. The running back scored twice more before the half, a 12-yard romp at 8:58 of the second and finally another one yarder just before halftime.

“One player annihilated us, we messed up,” Comet receiver Malcolm Hale said. “(Silveria) scored it — it seemed like four times on reverses.”

Trailing 24-7, the Comets faced their largest halftime deficit of the season.

With Burston sidelined, the Comets used a bevy of running backs to jump start their flailing offense. In the loss, freshman running back Jerald Daniels, (11-carries for 94 yards and one touchdown) had his best performance of the season.

He struck pay dirt in the third quarter capping a 9-play, 65 yard, drive with a one-yard touchdown.

After the Comets scored, Shasta led 31-14.

CCC’s defense had a rough showing throughout the game.

“We were not in our right gaps, (the Knights) tested our discipline,” Comet defender Chibu Onyeukwu said. “We played in a four down set today and we usually play three down. In three, the linebackers can be a little more active.”

In Saturday’s game, the scheme of three down or four down was not the problem, it was the amount of missed tackles. The Comet defenders were in position to make plays but could not consistently execute.

“I am not mad, just disappointed,” Comet coach Alonzo Carter said. “Some of the injuries and other things, like Cam (Burston) going out early, made it a new experience for us. We came out flat against Yuba, gave up 28 points to Redwoods and now 34 to Shasta.”

Carter said, even with loss to Shasta, the Comets’ power ranking still places them over undefeated Hartnell College.

The Comets have split wins and losses with Hartnell in its previous two Bowl game appearances.