By Ray Hamill — This past year has been a challenging one for Eureka’s Marcus Finney in more ways than one, but you won’t find him feeling sorry for himself.
Finney has had to deal with adversity on and off the football field, as well as switching teams, and a season in which, by his own admission, he says he “could have done better, for sure.”
All of that, however, has merely served to fuel his ambition, commitment, and gratitude.
Not to mention an unwavering belief that 2019 will be better.
“To be honest with you, I didn’t meet my expectations this year,” he said. “I was pretty frustrated with my overall production. But I’m just blessed and fortunate to be able to play the game I love.”
That’s good news for College of the Redwoods, which was 3-7 in his freshman campaign, because if he does improve his game for next year, he will be one of the most dangerous weapons in the American-Pacific 7 Conference.
He arguably already is.
In 2018, the former Eureka standout played a full season for the first time in four years, leading the Corsairs with 51 receptions for 790 yards and nine touchdowns.
He also had a big impact on kick returns, averaging 22.1 yards a return, including one for a touchdown, and earning California All-Region II All-State Team honors for his efforts.
He was one of a trio of top freshmen receiving threats the Corsairs featured in 2018, along with Zachary Loveland and Micha Fontenot-Cornely, the latter of whom is a St. Bernard’s graduate who was also named all-state after an impressive debut season at the collegiate level.
“These guys are definitely cream of the crop athletes, and guys you don’t see every day,” Finney said of his fellow receivers. “And every day they do something that surprises you.”
CR head coach Frank Borba believes they are a special group.
“They’re three of the most talented receivers I’ve ever coached,” Borba said. “It’s amazing that all three are on the same team, and it’s amazing they’re all freshmen. They’re all going to get better.”
For Finney in particular it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride.
After graduating Eureka High in 2015, he went to play for City College of San Francisco, which won a national championship in his first year there.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get to play much, gray-shirting after he was unable to pass the physical.
He was diagnosed with a heart condition, and forced to take a more serious look at himself.
“I started getting better after I started taking better care of myself,” he said.
It served as a wake-up call for the former Logger, and he was back ready to play again the following season, but suffered another setback with a torn MCL.
After that, things got even worse for the former Logger, when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and he made the decision to move closer to home.
“I was tired of being so far away from her when she was sick,” he said.
His mother, he says, continues to battle the illness, and he continues to remain by her side, and upbeat.
After moving back home, Finney transferred to CR, where he has provided some valuable leadership and guidance to his younger teammates.
He also continues to focus on his studies, averaging above a 3.0 GPA on his way to majoring in forensic science.
“We take our academics very seriously,” he said.
Four-year schools are also beginning to take Finney seriously.
The Southwestern Oklahoma State Bulldogs, an NCAA Division-II school, has already offered him a scholarship after he graduates CR, although he’s keeping his options open for now.
In the meantime, he’s already looking forward to beginning preparation for the 2019 season.
“We’ve got a nice offseason program in place,” he said. “And I expect to see a lot of guys out there.”
As for next year, there’s that unwavering belief that things will be better.
“I expect us to win a bowl game,” he said.