By Ray Hamill —Former Eureka standout Cruz Montana is starting to see some playing time at Lewis & Clark, and he’s taking advantage of the opportunity.
Montana, a back-up quarterback for the Division-III Pioneers, has seen action in three of the last four games, and threw his first collegiate TD pass in a game at Pacific (Oregon) two and a half weeks ago.
And, according to Lewis and Clark head coach Jay Locey, the Pioneers are excited with what they’ve seen from the 2019 Eureka graduate.
“You know, he’s a tremendous kid with a big-time upside,” Locey said. “He’s been tremendous in practice and he’s done well when he’s got the opportunity to play, and boy we like him a lot.”
Montana famously played almost the entire state semifinal game last season with a broken jaw, leading the Loggers back from a two-touchdown deficit before they barely lost the game.
He choose Lewis & Clark, a small liberal arts college in Portland, because he felt it was the perfect fit for him both on and off the football field.
After watching from the sidelines in the Pioneers’ opening three games, Montana got his first taste of collegiate action in a 68-30 loss at home to Whitworth on October 12, completing three of nine passes for 65 yards and an interception.
The freshman was back in the game one week later in another loss (56-28 at Pacific), this time completing four of 10 passes for 97 yards and a TD, and no interceptions.
“We love his physical attributes,” Locey said of the 6-foot-2, 195-pound freshman, who was instrumental in leading Eureka to back-to-back undefeated regular seasons in his two years as a starter there. “I think he’s got a strong arm, I think he’s mobile, and he’s a great leader.
“He’s very well respected, and he’s doing a lot of the right things here. He’s working hard in the classroom and he’s working hard everywhere else. People like him.”
The Pioneers are 3-4 on the season, an improvement on the two wins they’ve posted in each of the past two seasons.
They play at George Fox on Saturday.