By Ray Hamill — One former H-DNL player will play for a championship in JC football this weekend.
On Saturday, Feather River will host Monterey Peninsula in the Northern California Football Conference American Championship Bowl Game in Quincy, and former Fortuna Husky Daeden Taylor is expected to see some playing time for the home team.
Taylor, a freshman, has played in seven games this season as a back-up QB for the high-flying Golden Eagles, who are 9-0 and looking to close out a perfect campaign.
Game time is set for 1 p.m.
While Taylor is the last remaining local JC player whose season is still going, several others closed out impressive falls recently.
Most notably Del Norte’s Anthony Slayton, who was Shasta College’s top defensive player and finished with a team-high 85 tackles, well ahead of any of his teammates.
The linebacker, who led the National NorCal Conference in tackles, also had a team-high 14 tackles for a loss, which was the second best mark in conference.
Another local player who was among the NorCal Conference leaders is St. Bernard’s Micha Fontenot, a Santa Rosa wide receiver who finished the season with 37 receptions for 512 yards and five TDs.
Fontenot led the conference in receptions and receiving yards per game, and was also second in receiving touchdowns.
The 2018 St. Bernard’s graduate had three 100-yard games in eight starts.
Del Norte’s OJ Calleja also had a big impact for his team this fall, starting all eight games at QB for Siskiyious.
Calleja threw for 865 yards and six TDs and saved his best for last, throwing for 208 yards and two TDs in the season finale against American River.
Spaight shines for the Pride
At the NAIA level, meanwhile, former Eureka Logger Kenny Spaight enjoyed a big season at Clarke University in Iowa.
The DB/kick returner led his team in several categories, including tackles (79), forced fumbles (3) and kick returns (23).
Spaight, a 2011 Eureka High graduate, averaged 22 yards on kickoff returns and also had three interceptions.
The Pride, however, struggled to a 1-10 record.
At Lewis & Clark, meanwhile, another former Eureka Logger also had a big impact for his team at quarterback.
Cruz Montana won the starting job in the preseason and did not disappoint, throwing for 1,760 yards, 14 TDs and six interceptions in nine games.
Cruz, who averaged 195 yards passing a game, was also sacked 35 times, including four games with at least five sacks.
Montana’s former Eureka teammate Josiah Graham also enjoyed a productive season playing receiver at Shasta College, finishing the season with 17 receptions for 227 yards and two TDs.
At McPherson College in Kansas, former McKinleyville Panther James Soloman also had a big year at defensive tackle, finishing with 41 tackles, including five tackles for a loss, for the 6-4 Bulldogs.
Former Eureka lineman Isaak Gutierrez, meanwhile, closed out another big campaign as a starting guard for the Division-I New Mexico Lobos.
The Lobos finished the season 3-11 after suffering a 35-10 loss to Utah State on Friday afternoon.