By Ray Hamill — After taking a break for the summer, Humboldt Sports Athletes and Team of the Week are back, with plenty of worthy candidates right off the bat.
None more so than a freshman soccer player in South Fork and a senior football player at St. Bernard’s, who have one thing in common — they’ve both gotten their respective seasons off to a flying start.
Cubs freshman Summer Contreras has had an immediate impact down in Miranda, where she scored her team’s first six goals of the season on the way to helping them to a 2-0 start.
At St. Bernard’s, meanwhile, few players have burst out of the starting gates in recent times as impressively as Lane Thrap, who has 11 touchdowns in three games, including five against Arcata on Saturday.
As for our Team of the Week, early honors go to the Panthers football program, which has taken some big steps forward this season, both at the varsity and JV level, with each knocking off Fort Bragg on Friday night and giving Mack a first same-night sweep in at least five years.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Senior, St. Bernard’s Football
Thrap was uncontainable against Arcata on Saturday, pulling in four touchdown receptions on offense and adding a fifth TD late in the game on an 80-yard interception return.
The Crusaders receiver/safety has been working in tandem with quarterback/safety Will Omey, and the two have connected on 10 TD passes already.
It helps that the Crusaders have an assortment of game breakers on offense, which opens things up for Thrap, and so far this season he has been simply sensational.
For more on Thrap’s big game, see Defense sets the tone as St. Bernard’s dominates Arcata …
Freshman, South Fork Soccer
After netting twice in her varsity debut against Willits a couple of weeks ago, Contreras followed that last week by scoring all four goals in a 4-2 win over Roseland Prep.
Contreras is one of a handful of freshmen to have impressed early for the South Fork Cubs, who are now 2-1.
For more on Contreras’ fast start, see Freshmen on fire as Cubs win again …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
McKinleyville Football Program
It’s been a tough few years for McKinleyville football where wins have been difficult to come by, but the Panthers appear to be in better shape this year, coming away with a much-needed win at home to Fort Bragg on Friday, exactly one year since they had last won a game.
Even more impressively, their JV team is off a flying start at 3-0, winning their last two games with big-time second-half rallies.
At the varsity level the Panthers failed to finish drives in each of their opening two games, but came through against the Timberwolves, marching the length of the field on their first possession after giving up an 80-yard TD on the opening kickoff.
It set the tone for the game and the Panthers never looked back.
Now let’s see if they can build on this one.
For more on both teams’ big wins, see Panthers, Bosnian Bear frustrate the Timberwolves …