By Ray Hamill — The legacy of Eureka quarterback Cruz Montana continues to grow, even after the season has ended.
It turns out the Eureka senior played almost the entire CIF NorCal Regional game against Menlo-Atherton with a broken jaw.
And he kept the injury from his coaches, unaware how bad it was.
“That kid’s some tough athlete, that’s for sure,” Eureka head coach Jason White said. “That’s old school football.”
Montana, who is coming off an outstanding season for the Loggers and was fourth in passer rating in the entire North Coast Section, broke his jaw on the opening series of Friday’s game.
Despite the injury, Montana brought the Loggers back from an early two-touchdown deficit, throwing for one touchdown and running in for another, tying the game on the latter.
The coaches were unaware of the injury until after the game.
In hindsight, White says the injury might explain so many illegal procedure penalties called on the Loggers during the game, with the signal caller’s cadence off a little.
“And his throws were a little off. He didn’t have as much zip on them as he usually does,” White said. “We thought it was because of their team speed.”
The good news is Montana did not make the injury any worse, with a clean break that is expected to heal fine.
The break was so clean, in fact, the Eureka senior may even be back for the second half of the basketball season, where he was projected to play a major role for the Loggers this winter.