Redwood football battles San Marin in their first home game and league loss of the season

Wyatt Turkington

In their first home game of the year on Saturday, Oct. 8, the varsity football team fell short against San Marin despite a late comeback attempt. Redwood entered the game with two wins and zero losses in league play, which tied them with San Marin for the top seed. This league game will be a factor in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) rankings for the rest of the regular season.

In preparation, the Giants had a full week of practice to adjust and perfect their playbook for San Marin. Senior Colin McGrath, who plays cornerback and wide receiver, has been a commanding force on both sides of the ball this season.

Breaking a tackle, wide receiver Colin McGrath looks to find the endzone.

“We put together some different kinds of formations for San Marin. We [wanted] to throw them off with some fake blitzes and we worked on some switch concepts to get their corners isolated,” McGrath said.  

These differing defensive formations and fake blitzes dampened San Marin’s notable offense. Before playing the Giants, San Marin was averaging over 50 points per game; however, Redwood was able to limit their offense to 24 points. 

Offensively, multiple false starts and penalties prevented Redwood’s offense from getting into a rhythm, but they eventually worked efficiently to tighten the game. McGrath had two of Redwood’s three touchdowns, both occurring in the back corner of the endzone when Redwood needed it most. Ultimately, the Giants were also able to put up 21 points against a strong San Marin defense that had only let up one touchdown in league games prior to Redwood. 

Junior Wilson Schwartz, also a cornerback, recognized opportunities for the team  to execute their playbook more efficiently.

“We watched a lot of [San Marin’s game] film [beforehand]. We saw that they liked running these little short passes. We played five yards off the ball so they wouldn’t have any short passes on us,” Schwartz said. 

Lining up across from San Marins wide receivers, cornerbacks Carter Bowman and Wilson Schwarz prepare for a tough third down.

Throughout the game, Redwood had trouble containing short third-down passing conversions, so for a large portion of the game, San Marin ran the ball until it was necessary for them to throw on third down.

 “Short passes would get them crucial third downs, which really hurt us,” Schwartz said.

In the end, San Marin was able to sneak away with the victory after stopping an onside kick attempt by kicker Conor Weasler. The onside kick attempt came after a touchdown by McGrath to make the score 21-24. The onside kick attempt failed with two minutes left in the game, ending any hopes of overtime for the Giants. After San Marin’s recovery, they converted on first down and kneeled the ball to run out the rest of the clock. By the end of the fourth quarter, San Marin was able to edge out Redwood by three points for the final 24-21 victory. 

With only four more league games left, the Giants look to improve on both sides of the ball, using this game to show them what areas they need to improve upon. 

“We have to make sure we know who the hard hitters are. We have to figure out the best way to isolate them and cause them to play worse,” McGrath said. 

Head coach Allen Talley saw this specific game as an excellent opportunity for growth. 

“We just want to cut down on mistakes and play 48 minutes of football. We need to try and stay consistent,” Talley said. 

Similar to Talley, McGrath commented on errors that could have ultimately changed the game. With multiple turnovers on offense and the inability to step up to make big plays on defense, the team missed out on opportunities to capitalize on San Marin’s mistakes.

Frustrated, Redwood’s defense takes a break under some shade while the offense attempts to keep Redwood in the game.

“We had great opportunities but just didn’t fully execute at the end of the day,” McGrath said. 

With a full week to polish their plays, Redwood looks to overcome the loss and focus on their homecoming game against San Rafael this Saturday.