By Ray Hamill — It’s the most talked about position in all of sports, often getting too much credit when things go right or too much blame when things go wrong, but always a key component on any football team.
I’m talking, of course, about the quarterback position.
And in recent years, the H-DNL has produced some outstanding QBs, setting a high standard for the next group of local stars at the position.
So who is the next Cruz Montana, Zac Claus or Will Omey?
Only time will tell, but for now here’s a look at six local quarterbacks who should be fun to watch this fall and could be in line for a big season with their respective teams.
Bode Joyner, St. Bernard’s
Joyner could be the best quarterback in the H-DNL this fall after backing up one of the best in the entire NCS (Will Omey) for the past two seasons.
And now the St. Bernard’s three-sport standout athlete should get the opportunity to lead a young — very young — Crusaders team in his final year.
Head coach Matt Tomlin and his staff will be tested more than ever this fall with just two experienced seniors on their roster, but Joyner should give them a solid foundation at a key position to build around.
Jenner Christiansen, Ferndale
Arguably the most improved quarterback in the H-DNL last fall, Christiansen is fast establishing himself as one of the best all-around athletes in the area.
The Ferndale junior has grown in leaps and bounds in baseball, basketball and football, showcasing his smarts and high sports IQ this past fall in particular.
And that, coupled with what the Wildcats are building in football, sets Christiansen up for what could be a stellar senior campaign this coming fall.
For good measure, Christiansen is also the most experienced of the current crop of H-DNL quarterbacks, with two seasons as a varsity starter at the position already under his belt.
Max Hough, Fortuna
A projected back-up last season, Hough ended up seeing plenty of playing time behind playmaking senior Daeden Taylor, and got better and better as the season progressed.
Hough quickly won the confidence of his coaches and played a big role on a fast-improving Fortuna team late in the campaign.
It’s still early in the year, but if Hough gets the starting job in August and continues to show improvement, expect big things out of him in his final year.
Hayden Bode, Eureka
Bode got a few starts last year in place of injured senior Trevor Bell and showed plenty of promise on an otherwise beat-up and struggling Eureka team.
He’s a very good all-around athlete with an attitude second to none, and after missing out on his preferred baseball season this spring, he should be extra hungry as a senior and better prepared after a summer with the football team.
On the other hand, new Loggers head coach Andrew Haraldson and offensive coordinator Mo Purify could go in a different direction.
If they think he’s ready, the Loggers may yet decide to go with Hans Chalmers, a freshman with the JVS this past fall who was very impressive in his debut campaign and someone who appears to have a big future with the program.
Such a move would free up the talented Bode to play elsewhere.
Either way, the Loggers should have some talent at the position for 2020.
Shane Purcell, Arcata
The Arcata QB is another player who grew in stature as the 2019 season progressed, winning the starting job for the Tigers’ NCS playoff game at Kennedy.
Purcell split time with senior Matt Robinson throughout the season, earning the respect of his coaches with some smart decisions.
This fall, as a junior, Purcell should be better prepared and ready to stake his claim as a starter, and if he can do that he should only continue to improve.