“That was the most exciting game I've ever been a part of,” Bears head coach Dave Kindley said. “Our team has more heart and fight in them than any team I've ever been involved with.”
The Mount Shasta Bears went into Friday’s first round road playoff game confident they could pull off the upset against the Colusa RedHawks,.
Colusa had defeated Mount Shasta to start the 2019 season by 33 points, and downed MSHS 13-7 in the first round of the playoffs last year.
The Bears, the No. 5 seed in the Northern Section Division 4 football playoffs, accomplished their mission to pull off the upset, as they held on for a 29-28 win against the RedHawks, the No. 4 seed. Mount Shasta won thanks to a touchdown and a successful 2-point conversion with under a minute left in the fourth quarter. MSHS moves on to a semifinal match this Friday night at top seed East Nicolaus starting at 7 p.m.
“That was the most exciting game I’ve ever been a part of,” Bears head coach Dave Kindley said. “Our team has more heart and fight in them than any team I’ve ever been involved with.”
The Bears came out on fire in the first quarter to take a 21-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
Neither squad could get points on the board in the second quarter, as the Bears held on to a seven point halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Colusa scored on a touchdown pass with about five minutes left in the quarter, as the score was knotted up at 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Colusa scored with about 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter to take a 28-21 advantage.
With about a minute left in the fourth, Mount Shasta was in RedHawk territory on fourth down.
Sophomore quarterback Cole Kindley made a “clutch” audible call, coach Kindley said, as he found Gaspar Rodriguez for a touchdown to keep the Bears alive, as they trailed 28-27.
Now, Kindley and his staff needed to make a tough decision. Should the Bears kick the point after attempt and tie the game, or go for the 2-point conversion and the lead?
“The game came down to the most exciting and stressful decision I've made as a coach,” he said.
Kindley decided to go for two and the lead.
“I believe in my guys so I put it in their hands and they did not disappoint," he said. Cole Kindley ran the ball, as his big brother, senior lineman Lane Kindley, and running back Kayden Crisci, blocked in front of him, as this group of determined Bears fought their way into the endzone for the score. Mount Shasta now led 29-20 with under a minute left, as the squad held on for the one-point win.
“It was nothing short of amazing,” coach Kindley said. "I want to thank the coaching staff for the way they handled the game," he added. "Everyone contributes and communication is phenomenal. We are a powerful unit."
Mount Shasta improved to 6-5 overall, while Colusa ended the year at 5-6 overall.
Crisci ran for almost 200 yards and three touchdowns for MSHS.
“Kayden Crisci was a human wrecking ball as always,” Kindley said. “That young man breaks tackles and grinds out big runs even when he’s carrying two or three defenders." Kindley said the Rodriguez also ran the ball well, and caught the key touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. He also was a perfect 3-for-3 on PAT attempts.
“Gaspar Rodriguez is our go to player for everything,” he said.
Coach Kindley also commended the stout offensive line for the way they played, especially in the first half when they “imposed their will on Colusa’s D line.”
“The hogs make or break our team every week and they don’t ask for any glory, but they deserve it,” Kindley said. “Our hogs are Lane Kindley, Adam Boyer, Mateo Deleon, Jackson May and DJ Brown.”
He added that “Cole Kindley did a great job of leading the team and controlling the pace of the game. He continues to impress as a first year sophomore QB starting on the varsity squad.” Kindley said that JT Kennedy, Kyle Ellorin and Anthony Pigoni all played very well both on offense and defense. Phillip Gunther also played well defensively and had some big tackles. Mount Shasta will have a challenge against the top seeded Spartans, who come in at 10-1 overall after downing No. 8 seed Willows 48-8 in a first round match Friday. East Nicolaus, a fellow member with Mount Shasta of the Mid-Valley League, defeated the Bears 48-6 on Oct. 18. The Spartans won the D4 Section title last season.
“This week, like every week, is a mismatch for us,” coach Kindley said. “We will be outnumbered and undersized like every week. We’re the underdogs again. But we’re used to it and my guys are scrappy. We are going to give East Nick the fight of their season. They better be ready for four quarters of battle.” After all, he said, this is a special team that believes in themselves and their fellow Bears. "There is not a single kid on that team that’s not willing to step up and fight for the kid next to them," Kindley stated. "They stay calm and never feel like a game is out of reach. They have been battle tested this whole season against teams that are much bigger. They are not intimidated by anyone or any thing. I could not be more proud of that group of young men and the way they handle business."