COS Eagles football: Here's the 2021 schedule and players to watch for

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
The College of the Siskiyous football team, shown here during a game against Shasta last year, opens the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at home versus Diablo Valley.

Fans are back at College of the Siskiyous. The Eagles football team will be cheered on by friends and family members when they take the field at home in Weed to open the season against Diablo Valley on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m.

Head coach Tyler Knudsen said fans should be allowed at Herchel Meredith Stadium, although things could change quickly. It was odd hearing only silence coming rom this stands last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

COS was fortunate to be one of only a few junior college football teams to see playing time in the spring, when they faced Feather River and Shasta twice and went 2-2.  

Good news and bad news  

The good news is that the team will get playing time, while all their opponents but Shasta haven't played since 2019. The somewhat bad news: many of their sophomores were able to display their skills last year, so some signed with four-year schools and will be absent from COS this year. This includes linebacker Hayden McDonald, who signed with D1 FCS school Valparaiso.  

"It was great they were able to move on," said Knudsen. "That's just life when you coach junior college football. I'm glad they got an opportunity to continue to do what they love to do."  

Freshman heavy squad 

Knudsen said the Eagles are freshmen-heavy, but he said the talent is certainly there to have a successful season.  

Due to a lack of housing and the fact that some sophomores have already moved on, numbers are lower this year, too, with a few more than 50 players currently on the roster. 

Knudsen is pleased with the effort he has seen from the players he does have while dealing with poor air quality issues from fires, which has caused them at times to have practices indoors.  

"We got a bunch of young guys out here that are all battling and working hard," Knudsen said. There are 13 returners, including two sophomores and 36 new freshmen. "I think we are laying the foundation this year and can build upon it."

This season will be another challenging schedule full of tough teams, including American River, Sacramento City College, and Santa Rosa. Feather River is not on the schedule this year due since they moved down a division. Reedley, where Buffalo Bills star signal-caller Josh Allen played as a freshman, moves up a division and will face COS this season.  

"We'll have a clearer idea when we start playing where we stand," Knudsen said. 

Key contributors 

On offense, two quarterbacks who played as freshmen last spring will return, Knudsen said. OJ Calleja is from Del Norte High School in Crescent City and Hunter Davis is from Portland, Ore.  

"They both will contribute and know our system well," Knudsen said.  

Running back returners Max McDaniel and Mason Scheehean are expected to provide a solid running back combo. 

True freshman Gaspar Rodriguez of Mount Shasta High School has done well in practices and Knudsen believes he has the potential to help the Eagles.

Sophomore Jackson May of Mount Shasta, who played for COS last spring, has also done well, Knudsen said. May could be a starter at either tight end or on the offensive line.

Another Siskiyou County player that is bound to do good things on the field is Cooper Branson of Etna High School, Knudsen said.

Here's the 2021 COS Eagles football schedule

• All games are at 1 p.m. unless listed.  

  • Sept 4: Home vs. Diablo Valley, 2 p.m.  
  • Sept. 11: At Reedley
  • Sept. 18: At Chabot  
  • Sept. 25: Home vs. Sacramento City  
  • Oct. 2: Home vs. West Hills Coalinga  
  • Oct. 9: Bye  
  • Oct. 16: At Sierra  
  • Oct. 23: Home vs. Shasta  
  • Oct. 30: At Santa Rosa, 5 p.m.  
  • Nov. 6: Home vs. Butte  
  • Nov. 13: At American River