By Ray Hamill — It’s been tough going at times for former Eureka standout Isaak Gutierrez, but the hard work appears to be paying off.
Since transferring to the the University of New Mexico earlier this year, the 2019 Loggers graduate has earned himself a starting spot on the offensive line at right guard.
He will, however, have to wait at least one more week before making his Division-I debut, after the Lobos had Saturday’s season opener canceled this week because of COVID-19 issues.
The Mountain West Conference, which only recently voted to play this fall, has listed the game as a no-contest with no plans to reschedule.
After transferring from Butte College to the FBS program in early January, Gutierrez’s first year with the Lobos has been challenging because of COVID-19, to say the least.
The former Logger, however, appears to be adapting.
“Training camp has been a grind,” said the sophomore, who starts his day at 5 in the morning and spends much of his time at the facility. “We’re just trying to better ourselves every day at this point.”
Gutierrez is also the back-up center, where he is expected to eventually play for the Lobos.
The former Logger is now hoping to debut with his new team next week against the San Jose State Spartans, who prepared for their season on the Humboldt State campus.
That game is scheduled to be broadcast on FS1 or FS2.
San Diego State game to be televised
But while Gutierrez must wait at least one more week, another former H-DNL player is expected to kick off his season this weekend in front of a national television audience.
McKinleyville’s Kyle Spalding is a senior at San Diego State, which opens the season on Saturday night at home to UNLV, a game that will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network at 7:30 p.m.
Spalding, who is the starting left tackle for the Aztecs, was named to the Pro Football Focus Mountain West Team of the Year as an honorable-mention selection last fall as a junior.
A third former H-DNL player gearing up for the season is McKinleyville’s Bryce Petersen, who is the starting center at the University of Akron.
The Zips will kick off their season on Wednesday, November 4 at home to Western Michigan, in another nationally televised game on ESPN 3.