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RedHawks grind out win in 1st league game
Two teams depleted by injuries opened the Mid-Valley League schedule with a sloppy but bruising contest at RedHawk Stadium in Colusa.
Colusa High (4-2, 1-0) emerged from the scrap with a 33-20 victory against East Nicolaus but not before several more players finished the game on the sidelines nursing injuries.
The Spartans (1-5, 0-1) had injury troubles of their own entering the contest. Starting quarterback Zach Schuler broke his leg late in last week's 37-14 victory against Stone Ridge Christian, and his replacement, Kulveer Sandhar, took over at the position for the first time in his high school career.
Jose Santana scored the RedHawks first two touchdowns, not from his usual position at quarterback, but from running back. He scored from five yards and seven yards out giving the RedHawks a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Junior transfer from Maxwell, Hunter Mobley took over behind center and Santana moved to running back where senior starter Ryan Abele was out with an injury and several others were injured or moved to other positions.
Estevan Frias made it 21-0 with an eight yard run before Sandhar found Francisco Silvas deep down the middle for a 69-yard touchdown strike.
Mobley sent Colusa into halftime with a 27-6 lead after finding tight end R.J. Phillips on a 31-yard touchdown pass.
Sandhar threw another touchdown pass, a three-yard toss to Malachi Williams, cutting Colusa's lead to 27-14, but Mobley responded with a one-yard scoring run.
Sandhar and Silvas capped off a 13-play scoring drive with a four-yard pass for the final score of the game.
In the battle of first-time quarterbacks, Mobley went 6 for 14 for 135 yards with a touchdown and an interception and Sandhar was 15 for 33 for 209 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Silvas finished with eight receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Santana led all rushers with 14 carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Belmontes rushed 11 time for 75 and Frias finished with 10 carries for 75 and a touchdown.
The win was much needed for the the RedHawks and the loss hurt East Nicolaus' chance at the playoffs.
Colusa has decisive wins against Durham, University Prep and Pierce but struggled to get anything going in losses to Maxwell and Chester in which the RedHawks were outscored 82-13.
Friday's league opener presented the RedHawks with a team battle tested by a tough preseason schedule. The victor in each of the Spartans' five losses have a combined record of 19-8.
The Spartans picked up their first win of the season in their last nonleague game, beating Stone Ridge Christian from Merced 37-14.