By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs didn’t have a lot of experience coming into this season with just one sophomore on an opening day roster of 71 players.
That one sophomore, however, has played a pivotal role in leading this year’s team to a first bowl game in 13 years.
On Saturday afternoon, Weyk-seyr Hutchinson will lead his team out at the Redwood Bowl, as College of the Redwoods caps a memorable season in a showdown against Monterey Peninsula in the 2022 Grizzly Bowl.
Hutchinson first joined the Corsairs out of high school in 2019 and played his first season under former head coach Frank Borba.
The following year the program was suspended due to budgetary reasons, before being reinstated for this season with a mandate to bring on more local players.
Head coach Jason White has done exactly that, with numerous H-DNL players playing pivotal roles this year, including five who were named all-conference last week.
None more so that Hutchinson, who was an unanimous all-conference selection on the offensive line.
But that didn’t surprise White.
“He’s aggressive,” the head coach said of the team captain. “He wants to try and lay guys out when he’s playing. And he’s got a little maturity because he’s older than the rest of the guys, for the most part.
“Also he was an unanimous all-league pick and that goes a long way toward telling you where he’s at.”
White has been particularly impressed with Hutchinson’s growth as a player since he first saw him in the spring.
“He’s come a long way as a player,” the head coach said, adding “You can see the growth.
“He’s the guy who tries to keep the tempo going at practice. He kind of brings some energy to the team when we need it.”
White also believes that Hutchinson has the tools to play at a four-year program after his time at CR.
“He’s not big,” he said of the 6-foot, 250-pound lineman. “But he’s athletic and he moves around real well and he’s tenacious. And those things will get you real far as an offensive lineman.”
The 2019 Hoopa High graduate was joined on this year’s all-conference team by Eureka’s Carlos Duenas, Del Norte’s Kaleb Price and Tanner Forkner and Fortuna’s Max Hough.
He is also one of four Hoopa players on this year’s CR roster, along with defensive back Gavin Albers, linebacker AJ Perez and defensive lineman Bronc Colegrove.
One of Hutchinson’s former high school coaches is not surprised by his success at the collegiate level.
“His work ethic was awesome,” said current Hoopa head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings, who was an assistant coach when Hutchinson played there. “What he lacked on, he worked on. And he’s a nice kid too.”
The Grizzly Bowl kicks off at 1 p.m.