By Ray Hamill — The Corsairs have found the perfect formula to create a buzz around their football team. They’ve built a successful team that includes a large group of local players.
College of the Redwoods will kick off the new season against Merced College on Saturday at the Redwood Bowl in Arcata and community interest in the team hasn’t been this big in years.
A successful return to competition last year saw a roster of mostly freshmen come together far quicker than anticipated on the way to finishing the season 7-4 and placing second in conference.
And head coach Jason White and his staff are succeeding with a large group of former H-DNL players on the roster.
The 2023 team features 90 players, including 26 locals from eight different H-DNL schools, many of whom are expected to play a pivotal role once again.
The Eureka Loggers have the largest contingent of locals with six players on the roster, followed by Del Norte with five and Hoopa with four.
There are also three representatives each from Arcata and Fortuna — including quarterbacks Max Hough and Shane Purcell — as well as two each from Ferndale and St. Bernard’s and one from McKinleyville.
In addition to Hough, who is coming off an outstanding freshman year with the team in 2022, Del Norte’s Levi Cox-Cooley and Tanner Forkner are also back from last year, as are Ferndale’s Lane Branstetter, Eureka’s Chase Steubing and Fortuna’s Joey Quen and Levi Nyberg, all of whom saw substantial playing time in 2022 and some of whom were among the team’s top performers.
That group features a large incoming class of former Eureka players, including Antorious Bell, Dylan Christian, Daniel Garcia-Hall and Dominic Conant, who join returner Drew Jensen, another former Logger.
Hoopa’s Carlos Aguilar also is expected to play a big role as part of a deep and talented receiving corps, along with former Warriors Agapito Perez, Little Bear and Jasper Hostler.
Three new Del Norte players — Bryson Price, Daniel Gonzalez and Andrew Hunte — also are a part of the 2023 team, while Ferndale’s Caden Rocha is back along with Branstatter.
The three Arcata players on the roster include returning DB Alberto Iskra, as well as newcomers Purcell and Carson Tucker, each of whom have transferred in from Contra Costa College.
And rounding out the local contingent are St. Bernard’s Dominic Kofi and Jamarius January, and McKinleyville’s Che Jimenez, the latter of whom is back from 2022.
Saturday’s game is the first of five regular-season home games, all of which will be played at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Redwood Bowl.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.