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RedHawks hold off U-Prep in shootout
The Colusa High defense forced two turnovers late in the game and held off an explosive University Prep offense 55-41 on Friday in Colusa.
U-Prep pulled within a touchdown late in the third quarter and was driving when senior free safety Nathan Lyss stepped in front of a pass and returned it 50 yards to the Panthers' 10-yard line, from where Andrew Rodriguez shot around the right side for a touchdown and a 41-27 lead.
"I read the quarterback and I just did the best I could and I was glad to have blockers down the field," Lyss said.
The RedHawks struggled to contain the Panthers' multi-faceted attack that went for more than 300 yards through the air and 250 yards on the ground.
"It's hard to play two different kinds of games, usually we'll play a team that likes to run a lot or pass a lot. We had to prepare hard for this week but I feel like we did a good job," Lyss said.
University Prep's Tristan Huegel returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown, one of his three scores in the game.
Undaunted, the RedHawks recovered the onside kick at the U-Prep 35-yard line and Connor Herrick took the first play in for a touchdown, the third score in 32 seconds. The touchdown was Herrick's second of the game.
The Panthers promptly marched 94 yards before Bond Isheim caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to once again cut the RedHawks lead to one score, 48-41.
It took one minute for Colusa's offense to respond when Rodriguez sprinted into the end zone from 35 yards out for his third touchdown run of the game.
U-Prep continued to put pressure on the RedHawk defense, but Jose Santana saved a touchdown with an interception at the Colusa 1-yard line.
Rodriguez finished the game with 209 yards, his third game with over 200 yards rushing for the RedHawks this year. He now has 707 yards and seven touchdowns in Colusa's first three games. The RedHawks rushed for 462 yards as a team.
Ryan Abele finished the game with 132 yards and two touchdowns and used his speed at outside linebacker to stuff several short passes in the flat late in the fourth quarter.
Abele attributed his ability to make tackles in the open field to the line, for freeing him up to make the plays despite the fast paced, non-stop action all game.
"We've been really training for this all year and the line's been doing a really good job because they've gotten down a lot of body weight and they're pretty fast and in good condition, so it's really all about them," Abele said.
Kyle Cervantes returned to the starting lineup at quarterback after missing a game due to injury and threw two touchdown passes, one to a diving R.J. Phillips and another to Estavan Frias. Cervantes completed 4 of 9 for 72 yards and one interception.
Phillips led the RedHawks with 12 tackles.
Colusa (2-1) travels to Arbuckle on Friday to play Pierce (4-0) in what could be the toughest game of the regular season schedule for the RedHawks.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.