COLLEGE FOOTBALL — Big week for two former H-DNL players; Montana to start for Pioneers


Lewis & Clark Athletics – Cruz Montana

By Ray Hamill — Two former H-DNL players got the new college football season off to an impressive start last week, while several more will kick off their season this weekend.

Former Eureka Logger Kenny Spaight and former McKinleyville Panther James Solomon, who are both playing at the NAIA level, had big games on the defensive side of the ball for their respective teams.

Playing for Clarke University in Iowa, Spaight, who is a junior DB, had a team-high 12 tackles in a 44-20 loss to Missouri Valley, twice as many as any of his teammates.

He also came away with an interception he returned 31 yards.

Spaight is 2011 Eureka grad, who played both football and basketball for the Loggers, and also played at College of the Redwoods for two years.

The 6-foot-0, 190-pound Spaight will be back in action on Saturday when the Pride (0-2) take on Central Methodist at 1 p.m.

Solomon, meanwhile, also had a big day on the defensive line for McPherson College in Kansas, finishing with nine tackles in a 24-0 loss to Bethel College in the Bulldogs’ opener.

The 2018 Mack High grad, who is red-shirt junior, will be back in action when the Bulldogs host Tabor College on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Several other local players will open the season this weekend, including Eureka’s Cruz Montana, who has been named the starting quarterback for D-III Lewis & Clark, which plays at Claremont M-S.

Game time is set for noon on Saturday and local fans can watch on the Pioneers website.

His former teammate and close friend Josiah Graham will also be in action when the Shasta College Knights open their season a week later than anticipated.

The Knights, who had to cancel last week’s game because of COVID protocols, will kick off at home to San Joaquin Delta on Saturday night at 6 p.m.

Graham will play receiver for the team, while Del Norte’s Anthony Slayton, a former Big 5 co-Defensive MVP, will line up for the Knights at linebacker.

The game will be streamed live on Shasta County Sports.

Eureka’s Tyce Mullins and Arcata’s Jack Baca, meanwhile, both got the season off to a winning start at Butte College last weekend, when the Roadrunners defeated college of the Siskiyous 24-21.

The Roadrunners, who are now ranked No. 11 in the state, will host Laney College on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Former St. Bernard’s standout Micah Fontenot also kicked off the new season last week, but it was a difficult start.

Playing for Santa Rosa JC, Fontenot pulled in two receptions for 10 yards in a 45-5 loss at home to San Mateo, the No. 1 team in the state.

Another former Crusader, Lane Thrap, is also on the Santa Rosa roster.

The Bear Cubs will try to get back to winning ways at Fresno on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Jack Rice was also in action last weekend for College of Idaho, in a 33-30 loss against Rocky Mountain.

Rice, a St. Bernard’s graduate who plays QB, scored on an 82-yard run and had over 100 yards rushing, but he had a tough day passing the ball, completing 9 of 23 passes for 103 yards and an interception.

Rice and Idaho have a bye this week, before hosting Southern Oregon and another local player — McKinleyville’s Jared Smith — next weekend.

SOU (0-1) also plays MSU-Northern on Saturday at noon.

Jack’s younger brother Maximus Rice (OL/DL) is at D-II Colorado Mesa, but will red-shirt this year.

Other local players in action this weekend …

Arcata’s Hayden Santsche (LB) and Simon Fraser (0-1) will play at Linfield University on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Eureka’s Isaak Gutierrez (OL) and New Mexico (1-0) will host New Mexico State on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Hoopa’s Tristin Campbell (QB/WR) and Eureka’s Trevor Carlin (DB) both play for Willamette (1-0), which hosts Lincoln on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Eureka’s Miles Meynell and UC Davis (1-0) will play at San Diego Toreros on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Del Norte’s Ethan Price and Western Oregon (0-1) will play at Texas A&M – Kingsville on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Del Norte’s OJ Calleja (QB) and Nick Freeman (DB) will both be in action for the Siskiyous Eagles (0-1) at Reedley on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Fortuna’s Daeden Taylor (QB) and Feather River will kick off the season at San Jose on Saturday at 3 p.m. after last week’s game against Gavilan was postponed.

If you know of any players we missed, please email us with details at

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