Early the game against the College of the Sequoias, the Sierra College Wolverines repeatedly found themselves with poor field position and an inability to run the football.
Add in a bad snap over the punter’s head and some false starts … what’s a coach to do?
Sierra coach Ben Noonan called on the tenacious Wolverine defense to create more stops, called for a flea-flicker touchdown play, and rolled out a Meatball near the goal line.
Sierra beat the COS Giants using all of those ingredients and more in front of a sun-drenched crowd at Buzz Ostrom stadium Saturday.
The defensive unit, which features seven players who could blitz on any given play, surprised the Giants with five sacks and three interceptions – two by William Brocchini – and led the Wolverines to a 28-14 win.
COS rushed 31 times for just 81 yards thanks to a tenacious front four and two former Placer High inside linebackers, Caleb Mitchell and Waylon Cozad, who combined for 11 tackles, with Mitchell forcing a fumble and Cozad adding a sack.
“We just disguise what we do real well, and it makes it hard for the other team to scheme against us,” said Cozad who also had two tackles for loss. “We’re building a bond on this team. I love these guys. … We’re brothers.”
In addition to Cozad, Brian Lee, Bassey Ukpong, Sheldon Miller, Jacob Smith and Reed McCarty each recorded a sack.
“Our defense just keeps getting better,” Noonan said. “We made some mistakes on offense and special teams, but (quarterback) Joe Curry turned in a gutsy performance, taking some hits but getting more comfortable in the pocket.”
Curry, who was injured early in last week’s game, came back to throw for 247 yards, completing 20 of 34 passes with no interceptions.
The freshman signal-caller, playing because starter Justus Spillner was injured early in week two, was on the money with highlight reel wideout Brandon Aiyuk for a 47-yard touchdown pass that tied the game late in the first quarter. On their next possession in the red zone, Noonan called an end around pass play. Curry rolled left, flipped the ball to Draysean Hudson running right.
Hudson himself would score on a 15-yard pass from Curry in the third quarter as the high powered Air Raid Offense finally got untracked in the second half.
Then, in the fourth quarter, there was the Meatball play.
After punter Aaron Peart pinned the Giants inside…