Sports

CARVING OUT A PLACE

By Dan Arritt     1/11/2019

They were the two biggest stars on the football field that October night and rightfully so. 

As the starting quarterbacks for Mater Dei and Servite in the much-anticipated Trinity League opener at Angel Stadium, most in the crowd of 11,352 would’ve locked in on Chase Forrest and Travis Jonsen anyway, but they earned every ounce of attention. 

Jonsen, then known as Travis Waller, passed for 184 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 100 yards and another score. Forrest completed nine of 12 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, leading Mater Dei to the 28-21 victory. 

Five years later, Forrest and Jonson recently wrapped up another football season, only the days when both were the center of attention are long gone. 

Forrest completed his college eligibility on Dec. 26, his fifth season as a backup quarterback at California. That night, he got his first chance to play this season, replacing the starter after an ineffective first half against TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix, but Forrest was unable to pull off the dream ending in the 10-7 overtime loss.  

Forrest is believed to be the only FBS quarterback to arrive on scholarship four years ago and spend his entire college career with the same program without starting a game. 

His willingness to remain at California, despite watching six different quarterbacks start in front of him the over past five seasons, has made Forrest one of the most respected players on the team. 

“He’s one of those guys you’ll always remember,” Cal offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Not simply because he stayed, but because of whom he is while he’s stayed. It’s impressive.” 

Jonsen also had visions of being one of the next great quarterbacks to emerge from the Pac-12, joining the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Jared Goff. 

But Jonsen also found himself buried behind others on the depth chart. After two seasons at Oregon, he transferred to Riverside Community College, where he also lost out on the starting job during the 2017 season. He thought he was getting a fresh start at Montana State, but a few days before the start of last season, he was switched to wide receiver. 

It wasn’t the type of news Jonsen was prepared to hear. 

“I had to reach deep down and realize that no matter what position I’m at I have to give it all for my team,” Jonsen told 406mtsports.com. “Wherever they want me to help this team succeed is where I’ll go.” 

Jonsen ended up finishing second on Montana State in receptions (19) and yards (319), helping the Bobcats win their first FCS Playoff game since 2014. 

“I think he’s been great,” Montana State offensive coordinator Brian Armstrong said. “From my vantage point, he’s a good team guy and whatever’s best he’s good with and he’s embraced.” 

Jonsen has one season of college eligibility remaining and wants to make the most of it, regardless of where he’s playing.  

“Time is crunching down for me,” he said. “I’m just happy that I get the opportunity to play and have fun and just be out there with the guys.” 

The athletic future for Forrest isn’t as clear, but he certainly left his mark with the Golden Bears. 

“Guys have to respect him because he’s put in the time, the work, the years” said California senior center Addison Ooms, who played with Forrest at Mater Dei. “He comes from a place of love. There’s nothing selfish about that guy.”

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