REDDING, Calif. – Shasta College's football team scored four times on its first five possessions to roll past visiting Santa Rosa Junior College 35-21 Saturday on sophomore night at Memorial Stadium.
Tyler Carey hauled in two first-half touchdown passes from Eli Wehbey to achieve 11 receiving touchdowns on the season which is fifth-most in a single-season in Knights history. Carey ended with eight catches for 143 yards and added 12 rushing yards for the Knights, who recorded back-to-back victories for the second time this season.
"It was an excellent win vs. Santa Rosa," Shasta College head coach Bryon Hamilton said. "We played our best football of the season in the first half. All three phases were very good. It was great to get another conference win against a good program."
Shasta (2-2 NorCal Conference, 4-5) took advantage of a soggy home field, marching on a 13-play scoring drive that lasted 7 minutes, 38 seconds to open the game. Backup quarterback Gabe Curtis appeared short of the goal line at first from 1-yard out but was aided by a push from Nathaniel Wilson for the opening possession touchdown.
The Knights' defense forced a quick three-and-out and Wehbey hit Carey in stride for a 64-yard touchdown and an early 14-0 advantage. Holden Gilbert bounced a run outside on the ensuing possession for a 7-yard touchdown run and Wehbey connected with Carey on the following drive, rolling out to his left and finding the sophomore for a 23-yard score to go ahead 28-0.
Wehbey completed 12 of 13 passes for 199 yards en route to Shasta's 28-0 halftime lead and finished with 243 yards passing and the two scores on a single-game school record 84.2 percent completion percentage (min. 10 completions), with 16 of 19 passing.
"His first half was about as good as you can have with an almost perfect quarterback rating," Hamilton said.
Shasta outgained Santa Rosa 295-52 at half, completing all six third down opportunities and holding the edge on first downs 17-2.
Santa Rosa (1-3 NorCal, 3-6) scored on the opening drive of the second half with a 7-yard quarterback scramble from Santino Chavez. Shasta went ahead four scores late in the third quarter when Santa Rosa snapped the ball over the punter Jeremy Baker's head and Noah Benson scooped and scored for a 35-7 lead.
The Knights cruised behind their comfortable lead, allowing an 11-yard touchdown pass on the second-to-last play of the third quarter. The Bear Cubs missed a 34-yard field goal in the fourth and Reyjon Williams intercepted Carson Budke in the end zone three plays into the next Santa Rosa drive. The Bear Cubs added one more late score in garbage time to cut it to a two-score lead but the game was out of reach.
Gilbert was the leading rusher with 108 yards on 17 carries and added a 28-yard catch that converted a third-and-16. Miles Wilson racked up 45 total yards on eight touches and Dennis Perez made all five PAT attempts.
Shasta goes to face Butte College Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff, needing to win to become bowl eligible. American River, which beat Butte earlier this season, locked up the NorCal Conference title with a College of the Siskiyous forfeit.
Shasta beat Santa Rosa for the second time in three years but Santa Rosa owns the all-time series 21-11 … Tyler Carey ranks among the top in the state, second in yards per catch (22.1), second in receiving yards (819), third in receiving touchdowns (11), third in total touchdowns (14), fifth in yards per game (91) and fifth in points (84) … Eli Wehbey set a school record for completion percentage in a single game with a minimum 10 completions at 84.2% (16 of 19) … He has 11 passing TDs in the past four games.
Team NorCal, Overall
#9 American River 5-0, 7-3
#8 Butte 3-1, 6-3
#10 Sierra 2-2, 6-3
Shasta 2-2, 4-5
Santa Rosa 1-3, 3-6
Siskiyous 0-5, 1-8
Photo Credit: Mike Daly