These four football players are representing Siskiyou County in the Lions All-Star game

Ethan Hanson
Siskiyou Daily News

Four Siskiyou County football players are being given one more shot to play high school football.

Aiden Fernandez of Etna High School, Cole Kindley of Mount Shasta High School, Tommy Pineda of Weed High School and Rance Zediker of Yreka High School were nominated to play in the 45th Lions All-Star game. 

Fernandez, Kindley, Pineda and Zediker will represent the North team. The game features the top senior high school football players from the CIF Northern Section.

The game is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 18, at Shasta College.

This spring will mark the first time the Lions All-Star game is played after it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The student-athletes spoke of what playing in the Lions All-Star game means to them.

Weed High School senior wide receiver and outside linebacker Tommy Pineda was named to the 45th annual Lions All-Star football game, which will be held at Shasta College on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Tommy Pineda, Weed (receiver, defensive back, punter and kicker)

2021 stats:

  • 33 receptions for 409 yards
  • Five touchdowns
  • 12.4 yards per catch
  • 31 tackles
  • Six punts inside the 20-yard line
  • Converted 3 of 9 field goal attempts
  • Two pass deflections
  • One fumble recovery

Weed wide receiver Tommy Pineda said he was "shocked" to learn he had been nominated to the Lions All-Star game. 

"I'm super thankful, grateful and I can't wait to get there," Pineda said. 

Pineda said he was lost at times when he first started playing football during his freshman year. He had been a soccer player for most of his life.

"The (coaches) were not looking at me as a receiver at first," Pineda said. "I actually had to go onto YouTube to learn how to catch a football."

But he fell in love with game and vowed to become better after his freshman year.

"Coach (Steve Neel) saw something in me and he asked me to come out and play," Pineda said. "It worked out for me." 

He continued to practice at Weed High School's football field after the 2020-21 season was canceled due to COVID.

"During that time I was just getting reps in with my friends and running routes, hitting the weight room," Pineda said. "I was just getting ready for next season."

Pineda became one of Weed High School's versatile players in 2021. He caught passes consistently and used his 6-foot-2 height to make tackles.

After losing six straight games in the fall, Weed closed the season by winning three straight. 

"It was definitely frustrating because we had a lot of injuries and we were never fully healthy," Pineda said. "Almost every loss was by a lot, but we overcame some of that and had a strong finish."

Aiden Fernandez, Etna (offensive and defensive line)

Etna senior Aiden Fernandez will play in the 45th annual Lions All-Star football game at Shasta College on Saturday, June 18.

2021 stats:

  • 19 tackles
  • One pass deflection

Etna offensive and defensive lineman Aiden Fernandez has the physical attributes to play football at the next level. He is 6-foot-3, weighs 275 pounds and has a passion that could draw interest from colleges across the country.

Right now he is sending tapes and hoping that one school will give him an opportunity to play.

"It's an honor to be selected and to honor my town and my family," Fernandez said. "It's given me one last chance."

Etna finished the year 3-6 and secured three straight wins over Mount Shasta, Trinity and Portola.

Cole Kindley, Mount Shasta (tight end and defensive end)

Cole Kindley looks to throw a pass during a practice at Joe Blevins Memorial Stadium in Mount Shasta.

Being the youngest of four brothers can be difficult when trying to find the perfect cut of turkey at Thanksgiving, Mount Shasta High School tight end and defensive end Cole Kindley said.

Kindley's three older brothers are Kirby, Bodie and Lane. He shares his brothers' competitive attitude.

"I just grew up watching them all play football and I figured I might as well follow in their footsteps," Kindley said. "When I finally got to high school and started playing, it was a dream come true. It's the only sport you can hit people. The way you get to hit people in football is a lot of fun."

Kindley, a 6-foot-5 tight end and defensive lineman, joins Bodie and Lane as the third sibling from his family to be nominated to the Lions All-Star game.

"It's pretty cool that I'm the third brother and living up to the name," Kindley said. 

Mount Shasta High School finished its season 1-8. The Bears earned its only win of the year when it beat Hamilton High School on the road in Week 9. 

"That was a much needed win because everyone was kind of getting down from the previous games," Kindley said. "We just played harder than them. That was pretty special." 

Kindley will join Lane, who is an offensive lineman, and play football at Shasta College in the fall.

Rance Zediker, Yreka (tight end and linebacker)

Yreka tight end and linebacker Rance Zediker will represent the Miners at the 45th annual Lions All-Star game at Shasta College on Saturday, June 18.

Tight end and linebacker Rance Zediker wasn't sure if he wanted to play football at first.

During his freshman year, Zediker watched as Yreka played against some of the top teams the Northern Athletic League had to offer.

Zediker felt more comfortable during his sophomore year. He tried out and made the team.

"I just wanted to see what it was like at first," Zediker said. "It worked out pretty good."

Yreka went 1-9 this season and earned its lone victory in Week 4 against Trinity. Zediker, who stands at 6-foot-2, said he is hoping his performance in the Lions All-Star game will help him earn a scholarship.