By Ray Hamill — Two years after they lit up the North Coast while playing together on one of the greatest local high school football teams ever, former teammates Cruz Montana and Josiah Graham are still connecting.
And each is clearly still motivated.
The two players, who both played a pivotal role in the Eureka Loggers’ march to the state semifinals in 2018, have been busy working out together almost daily for the past four months at the Redwood Bowl, keeping each other motivated in the midst of uncertain times.
Montana, who graduated Eureka in 2019, is gearing up for his second season playing quarterback at Lewis & Clark College, where he is expected to be the starter for the Division-III program this fall, while Graham, an outgoing Eureka senior, will play receiver at Shasta College.
“We always put in extra work together, ever since I was a junior, whenever we could,” Graham said. “I just knew going into my freshman year in college it would be beneficial to work out with a quarterback as good as Cruz.”
Neither is certain there will even be a season this year but both are preparing for one regardless.
“I think everybody’s in the same boat. I don’t think anybody has an answer right now,” Montana said. “But we’re preparing like there’s going to be a season.”
And that includes the daily workouts with Graham, with the two players refusing to even take a break on the Fourth of July.
In addition to running several different routes and passes, the duo has been working on other things during their daily two-hour sessions.
“We do specific stuff for our positions,” Graham said. “I’ve been doing a lot of catching drills.”
And they’re not alone, with another former Logger, Bobbie Purify, also working out alongside them every day in preparation for her senior year playing basketball at William Jessup University in Rocklin.
Graham, meanwhile, has been holding weekly Zoom meetings with his new coaches at Shasta and hoping for a fall season, with a decision from the California Community College Athletic Association looming on July 17.
“Everything (the coaches are) saying is prepare like there’s going to be a season,” he said. “They’re telling us to stay in shape and keep working hard.”
Graham, along with Montana, has certainly been doing that.