A showdown between Colusa and visiting East Nicolaus to decide the Sacramento Valley League championship went awry for the RedHawks last Friday night as the Spartans set the tone early and maintained control throughout, handing Colusa a 43-14 loss, its second in as many weeks.
Led by a pair of thousand-yard rushers in quarterback Ty Grigsby and running back Rhett Risse, East Nic wasted little time getting on the board on its first possession, gashing the RedHawk defense as it marched down the field to score a mere three minutes into the contest.
However, the ensuing kickoff further complicated matters for Colusa when the Spartans’ squib kick went untouched and was recovered by East Nicolaus on the RedHawk 32 providing another opportunity to score.
And the Spartans did just that, finding the end zone just one play and 10 seconds after the first touchdown to go up 16-0 without the RedHawks even touching the ball.
Adding to its woes, when Colusa did get its first offensive possession, it turned the ball over, leading to East Nic’s third score of the quarter.
As the game progressed into the second period, the RedHawks regained their bearings somewhat and scored on a Bo Coronado one-yard keeper.
Yet, the Spartans had an immediate response, needing only four plays to extend their advantage to 30-7.
While East, Nicolaus tried to keep up the special teams pressure with another onside attempt, this time it backfired as Dominic Salazar grabbed the hard shot and returned it to the Spartan 22.
After driving down to the six, Coronado zipped a pass to Peyton Humphrey for the touchdown, which, unfortunately for Colusa, was its last of the night.
The RedHawk defense did force two turnovers in the final two minutes of the half as Aiden Selover and Sutter Moss each intercepted a pass, but Colusa couldn’t capitalize on either opportunity.
In the second half, East Nicolaus added on with two more scores, while keeping the RedHawks outside the red zone and unable to maintain any consistent momentum.
For Colusa head coach Mikey Badaluco, while the first half was certainly not what he had anticipated, he did feel there were some positives to take away as his team prepares for the playoffs.
“We got off to a really slow start defensively and on special teams,” Badaluco said. “We can’t afford to dig ourselves a hole like that, and we couldn’t stop them on third or fourth down. Still, our offense moved the ball on them, which was a positive. We did really good between the 40s, but hurt ourselves with penalties.”
Selover carried 10 times for 80 yards to lead the offense that rolled up nearly 350 yards of total offense.
Defensively, Salazar made a team high eight tackles, while Hayden McCarty finished with seven as did William McCoy, who also had a fumble recovery and a sack to his credit.
In spite of the loss, the RedHawks (8-2) received the No. 2 seed in the Northern Section Division IV playoffs and earned a first round bye.
They will return to action Friday, November 18 when they host the winner between No. 3 Durham and No. 6 Willows. ■