COLLEGE FOOTBALL — Who to look out for as the new season kicks off

Clarke University Athletics – Kenneth Spaight kicked off the new season with Clarke University on Thursday night.

By Ray Hamill — It will be a busy fall for several former H-DNL players at the collegial level, with the first of them kicking off the new season with a strong performance on Thursday.

Former Eureka High and College of the Redwoods standout Kenneth Spaight, who plays DB for Clarke University, finished with eight tackles in the Pride’s season opener, including one for a loss.

It wasn’t enough to secure the win, however, with the NAIA program falling 31-20 to Evangel.

The 2011 Eureka graduate who was a  Heart of America All-Conference selection last year, also had a kickoff return for 19 yards.

Spaight is one of several local players who will play for a four-year program this fall, two more of whom get their seasons under way on Saturday.

Former St. Bernard’s QB Jack Rice is back with the College of Idaho for his senior season and the Yotes kick off against MSU-Northern at 1 p.m.

Also in action on Saturday, former McKinleyville Panther Bryce Petersen will start at center for the Wolf Pack after transferring to Nevada for his super senior season.

The 2017 Mack High graduate transferred from Akron to San Jose State in January, before opting instead to play for Nevada this past spring.

The experienced Petersen is listed as a starter for the Wolf Pack and should help anchor their line this fall.

They kick off the new season at New Mexico State on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

Other former H-DNL players to keep tabs at the collegiate level this fall include Isaak Gutierrez, a former Eureka Logger who is slated to start at left guard in his senior season with the New Mexico Lobos.

Another former Logger Miles Meynell is a sophomore on the UC Davis roster and the Aggies kick off the new season against Cal next week.

Former Arcata Tiger Maximus Rice is a redshirt freshman at Colorado Mesa, while former Del Norte Warriors Ethan Price will play linebacker at Western Oregon.

Up at Lewis & Clark, former Eureka Logger Cruz Montana is expected to have a big season playing quarterback for the Pioneers after a breakout campaign last fall.

The 2019 Eureka graduate threw for over 1,700 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2021 in his first season as the team’s starting quarterback.

Several former H-DNL players will also play at the JC level this fall, including Del Norte’s Anthony Slayton, who plays linebacker at Shasta College and led the state in tackles last fall.

Also playing for the Knights this season are a pair of former Loggers, receiver Josiah Graham and offensive lineman Shyloh Nicholson.

Five former H-DNL players will also play for Santa Rosa this fall, including St. Bernard’s Lane Thrap, Dominic Kofi and Perry Bailey, Fortuna’s Branson Gans and Eureka’s Trevor Riberdy.

Former Arcata Tigers Shane Purcell and Carson Tucker will also play for Contra Costa College this fall.

Close to 30 local players will also suit up for College of the Redwoods, which kicks off the new season at Merced next week.

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