Kobe Lonnon rushed for 174 yards and 4 touchdowns, and a happy bunch of Weed Cougars got their hands on the Black Butte Bowl trophy after Friday night’s 34-7 win at Mount Shasta.
It had been 13 years since Weed won its last BBB in 2002, about the time this year’s players were starting grade school.
“It’s a great feeling,” junior quarterback Thairen Sivongsa said after he completed 10 of 20 pass attempts for 142 yards including a 33 yard touchdown connection with senior Ss’ven Walker.
“The line did well, everybody contributed,” said Sivongsa.
“It’s all about teamwork,” said senior fullback and linebacker Beniah Greene, who had one of three Cougar fumble recoveries in the game and was one of three Weed defenders who each made six solo tackles.
Senior Kyle Gonzales had six solo tackles, a team-high 10 total tackles, and two fumble recoveries as the Bears had trouble with their long snaps in the shotgun formation.
Senior Aaron Dickson, whose six solo tackles included a quarterback sack, was an emotional leader on the field for Weed.
“I wanted us to be pumped up about it and not give up the lead,” Dickson said amidst the pandemonium of Weed’s post-game on-field celebration. “It’s an honor to be able to have the trophy back after 13 years. It means we came together as a group... We’re all brothers.”
“Weed came out and played a heck of a game,” said Mount Shasta head coach Jason Young. “Kudos to them. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The score was tied 0-0 after the first quarter, then Lonnon scored on runs of 4 yards and 3 yards, then Sivongsa hooked up with a wide open Walker to make it 21-0 with 1:23 to play in the half.
A long kickoff return by Tyler Santi got the Bears in position for their only score of the game on a 23 yard pass from quarterback Kirby Kindley to Mason Fitzmorris. That made the half time score 21-7.
The second half was all Weed, including a 10 yard Lonnon TD run with 2:40 to play in the third and a 3 yard Lonnon TD run that sealed the deal with 9:38 to play in the fourth quarter.
Walker said the Cougars were determined not to let this year’s Black Butte Bowl slip away like they did during last year’s overtime loss to the Bears.
“We made a promise to stick together,” said Walker, who caught 5 passes for 78 yards and ran three times from scrimmage for 32 yards.
“We started sluggish and had some turnovers, but when we get a little space and opportunity we can get it rolling.”
Gonzales led the defense with 10 tackles, Greene had 8, Dickson 8, Darian Mathes 7, Daniel Wall 6, and Lewis Williams 5.
“We worked hard and gave it our all,” said Lonnon, who also had 4 pass catches for 35 yards. “Our line was doing a beautiful job. It was all them. I could have driven a truck through some of those holes.”
Senior Scottie Thienpheth caught a pass for 29 yards that helped set up a Cougar score.
“We learned from last week,” said co-head coach Darren Lonnon, referring to the Cougars’ blowout loss in their second game of the season when neither Kobe Lonnon nor Walker played.
Co-head coach Byron Mathes said the tough Black Butte Bowl loss to the Bears in Weed last year was just three days before the Boles Fire swept through town and destroyed more than 140 homes.
“We were done after that,” Mathes said, recalling how the Cougars got blown out when they came to Mount Shasta later in the season.
He said he realized what the trophy meant to the Cougars after last year’s Black Butte Bowl loss when they were devastated in the lockerroom.
“This year is totally different,” said Mathes, whose team is now 2-1, while the Bears fell to 0-3. “The attitude is good. We wholeheartedly believed we would win... It was a great team win that can only boost our confidence. Not everything went right. We dropped some passes early.”
Mathes, who knows some of the Bears well from youth football, has often made the point that he thinks Weed and Mount Shasta should combine their football programs into one to compensate for decreasing enrollments and small rosters at both schools. He made that point again after Friday night’s win.
“Imagine what kind of team that could be with our 25 players and their 21 – without sophomores.”
Then he looked ahead to the tough games coming up on Weed’s schedule.
“I know we have a special quarterback, a special wide receiver, and special running backs, but we have other guys, too, who are stepping up.”