Four soccer players from Siskiyou County get another chance to play high school soccer.
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 best senior high school football players from the CIF Northern Section.
The game will be played at Shasta College on Saturday, June 18 at 7:00 PM.
This spring will mark the first time the Lions All-Star game will be played after it was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The student athletes shared what playing in the Lions All-Star game means to them
Here are the backgrounds of the players who have been nominated and what playing in the Lions All-Star game means for their individual legacies.
Tommy Pineda, Weed (receiver, defender, punter and kicker)
- 33 receptions for 409 yards
- Five touchdowns
- 12.4 meters per catch
- 31 tackles
- Six punters inside the 20 yard line
- Converted 3 out of 9 field goals
- Two deflections
- A clumsy recovery
Weed wide receiver Tommy Pineda said he was “shocked” to learn that he had been nominated for the Lions All-Star game.
“I’m super grateful, grateful and I can’t wait to get there,” Pineda said.
Pineda said he was sometimes lost when he first started playing football during his freshman year. He had been a footballer for most of his life.
“The (coaches) didn’t look at me as a receiver at first,” Pineda said. “I actually had to go to YouTube to learn how to catch a football.”
But he fell in love with the game and swore he would get better after his freshman year.
“Coach (Steve Neel) saw something in me and he asked me to come and play,” said Pineda. “I did it.”
He continued to practice on the Weed High School football field after the 2020-21 season was canceled due to COVID.
“At that time, I was just getting reps 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 consistently caught passes and used his six-foot height to make tackles.
After losing six straight games in the fall, Weed finished the season with three straight wins.
“It was absolutely frustrating because we had a lot of injuries and we were never completely healthy,” Pineda said. “Almost every defeat was a lot, but we overcame some of it and had a strong end.”
Aiden Fernandez, Etna (Offensive and Defense Line)
- 19 tackles
- Deflection in one pass
Etna’s offensive and defensive lineman Aiden Fernandez has the physical qualities to play football at the next level. He is six feet tall, weighs 275 pounds and has a passion that could spark interest from colleges across the country.
At the moment he sends tapes and hopes that a school will give him the chance to play.
“It is an honor to be selected and to honor my city and my family,” Fernandez said. “It gave me one last chance.”
Etna finished the year 3-6, taking three consecutive wins over Mount Shasta, Trinity and Portola.
Cole Kindley, Mount Shasta (tight ending and defensive ending)
As the youngest of four brothers, it can be difficult to find the perfect turkey during Thanksgiving, said Cole Kindley at Mount Shasta High School.
Kindley’s three older brothers are Kirby, Bodie and Lane. He shares his brothers’ competitive spirit.
“I just grew up watching them all play football and I thought I might as well follow in their footsteps,” Kindley said. “When I finally went to high school and started playing, it was a dream come true. It’s the only sport that you can hit people with. The way you can 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 in his family to be nominated for the Lions All-Star game.
“It’s pretty cool that I’m the third brother and live up to the name,” Kindley said.
Mount Shasta High School ended its season 1-8. The Bears had their only win of the year when they beat Hamilton High School on the road in Week 9.
“That was a much-needed win, because everyone was starting to get a little bit less from the previous games,” said Kindley. “We just played harder than them. That was quite special.”
Kindley joins Lane, an offensive lineman, to play soccer at Shasta College in the fall.
Rance Zediker, Yreka (tight end and linebacker)
Tight end and linebacker Rance Zediker wasn’t sure at first if he wanted to play football.
During his freshman year, Zediker watched Yreka play against some of the best teams the Northern Athletic League had to offer.
Zediker felt more at ease during his sophomore year. He tried it out and made the team.
“I wanted to see what it was like first,” Zediker said. “It worked out pretty well.”
Yreka went 1-9 this season, taking his only win in Week 4 against Trinity. Zediker, who stands at six feet, said he hopes his performance in the Lions All-Star game will help him earn a scholarship.