High school football season begins

Ron Borges
Nate Gonzalez goes back for a pass during the Tiger’s scrimmage on Saturday

Scrimmages aren’t about who gains the most yards, how many times you score or even whose starting the game. They are about tuning up the players so coaches can push for those championships.

Mount Shasta, Weed, and Dunsmuir all participated in scrimmages on Friday and Saturday respectively.

Mount Shasta and Weed faced each other along with Etna and Yreka. Both the varsity and junior varsity participated in the games. Dunsmuir played against Butte Valley and Champion Christian.  

It was during Friday’s scrimmage that Mount Shasta senior Corben Brooks suffered serious neck and spinal cord injuries while trying to make a tackle. Brooks was flipped over and landed on his head. After 10 minutes on the ground, he was carried away in an ambulance and taken to the hospital in Redding. 

Mount Shasta Bears

The Bears’ offense ran the ball well, gaining between 5 and 15 yards per carry. They only loss yardage twice throughout the scrimmage. The running backs broke many opposing tackles leading to many of the bigger gains. 

The passing game on the other hand is still struggling.  Combined, the quarterbacks completed three passes. Some were dropped by receivers, including two for scores. 

The offensive line was inconsistent throughout the scrimmages. They showed dominance early on but began to slip as the day progressed. In the late stages, the quarterback had little to no time to throw.

Good news for the coaches is the team never gave up.

The Bears scored five touchdowns but fumbled four times and were intercepted once.

Mount Shasta’s defense played well, too, but did have a few bad moments, giving up many big gains to Yreka and Weed, including 40 yard scores on two first down plays.

Broken tackles led to big runs against Mount Shasta’s defense. On one possession, the Bears let a sack slip from their grasp which allowed the other team to score.

The Bears did have one sack, four fumble recoveries and an interception.

The junior varsity squad had a simple plan when they went into Friday and, according to Coach Dellabona, they accomplished all their goals. They passed and ran well at the beginning but faltered at the end, especially with a few mental mistakes.

Weed Cougars

The Weed Cougars had the same kind of success as their rivals, but showed a lot of heart and progress on offense. The  offense wasn’t flashy, but according to Coach Steve Neel, “We aren’t going to open up our play book for them just yet.”

Weed’s offense gained yardage in small chunks on the ground, mostly due to the line not getting a push on most plays. 

The Cougars’ passing game struggled, as only a few short passes were completed and one was intercepted. 

The defense showed they could stop the short gains, but not the big play. On several occasions, the Cougars had trouble stopping long passes or not tackling, allowing the opposition to run through them for the long gains.

They were also scored on six times, mostly due to the long gains.   

Fatigue also became a factor since they have lost a few payers since fall practice started. 

The Weed junior varsity squad had a great scrimmage and was tested under the fire.  Like the other teams, their timing was a little off, but they played well. Their defense allowed a few scores but the offense even things up by scoring a few themselves.

Dunsmuir Tigers

According to fans, the scrimmage was the best football they have seen from the Dunsmuir Tigers in years.

The Tigers looked good running the ball. With the plays they opened up in the playbook, the running backs gained medium to large amounts of yards.  At first, the offensive line couldn’t open up running lanes very wide for their teammates, allowing only short gains.  Towards the end of the scrimmages, the holes became more open, getting the back into the open field. 

The running backs were also able to break tackles in the open field, leading to big gains.  There were a few botched handoffs throughout the game but that didn’t stop them from gaining yards.         

Like the other Siskiyou County teams, Dunsmuir had problems throwing the ball.  Towards the end the game, the offensive line was allowing more pressure on the quarterback, not giving him the time needed to throw. On other occasions, the ball would fall just short or be too high for the receivers to catch. 

On defense the team effort was spectacular. They were only scored on once through the entire scrimmage and mostly allowed short gains from the opposition. 

As a team, the Tigers have good speed to the ball and tackle fairly well. They were also getting to the quarterback early and often, getting one sack and causing four fumbles.   

The football season officially opens up this week. Mount Shasta will be playing at Modoc, Weed is at Etna, and Dunsmuir is away at Happy Camp.