By Ray Hamill — Three years after they last played a down, the Corsairs will kick off the new football season on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to play Merced College for their opener.
And this week, head coach Jason White and this staff have been finalizing the starting lineup from their roster of 78 players, which includes an impressive 28 from the H-DNL, giving the Corsairs a sizable local contingent.
And many of those local players will play a pivotal role on this year’s team.
The battle for the starting QB spot was a good one, according to White, who admits there was little to choose from between the two frontrunners, Teagen Gaither and Max Hough.
Gaither, a freshman from Chief Sealth High School in Washington, will get the start.
“He’s an incredible leader,” White said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Gaither. “He’s one of the better leaders I’ve coached (in 20 years). He works hard and he does a good job of understanding the offense.”
White admits it was a difficult decision.
“It really was a close battle with (Fortuna’s) Max Hough,” he said. “Max had a great camp also, and we feel we have two quality quarterbacks right now.”
The battle for the starting running back position was even more intense, with a deep pool of backs to choose from, all of whom are expected to see a lot of time this fall.
And all of them bring something different to the lineup.
Del Norte’s Levi Cox-Cooley will get the start, while Fortuna’s Levi Nyberg will also see time, along with Gabe Ward from Junction City and Emmanuel Igbonagwam from Gresham.
“All four of these guys are physical, they’re all strong and they all have a little different running style,” White said. “I think we’re going to see good things out of all four of them.”
As a re-established program, the Corsairs will feature just one sophomore this fall, Hoopa’s Weyk-seyr, who played for CR back in 2019.
And the 6-foot, 250-pound former Hoopa Warrior is expected to anchor the offensive line this year.
At receiver, Shasta College transfer Damario Watson will give CR some experience, although he is still a freshman eligibility wise.
And the 5-9, 185-pound wideout also has been leading by example.
“He’s the epitome of hard work,” the head coach said. “And he’s a smart player who knows everything we’re doing.”
Other local players expected to have an impact on offense include Antorious Bell (RB, Eureka), Carlos Duenas (OL, Eureka), Bryce Gratz (WR, St. Bernard’s), Jasper Hostler (WR, Hoopa), Kyro Jimenez (WR, Eureka), Logan Maher (K/P, McKinleyville), Kaleb Price (TE, Del Norte), Joey Quen (OL, Fortuna), and Caden Rocha (OL, Ferndale).
We’ll take a look at this year’s defense on Thursday.