H-DNL names all-league selections in football

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Eureka’s Hayden Bode (16) and Keeb Her (3)

By Ray Hamill — The H-NDL released all-league teams in three sports on Tuesday morning, including football.

There were five first-team all-league selections from every team, as well as a number of honorable mentions.

There were no MVPs named after a shortened season.

For the Eureka Loggers, who went 5-0 and were the unofficial Big 4 champions, seniors Keeb Her and Hayden Bode were named first-team, along with junior Sky Barone and a pair of stellar sophomores, Magnum West and Joseph Gonzalez.

If there had been an MVP this spring, Bode would have been one of the leading contenders after playing a huge role in his final season at both quarterback and safety.

“He was awesome,” Eureka head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “He’s a very gifted athlete, but what really helped us in addition to that was his leadership in putting guys in the right spots, especially on defense.”

Her, who started at fullback and linebacker, “epitomized what a Logger should be,” according to his coach.

“He was just so tough and reliable,” Haraldson said.

Barone was the team’s lone returner on the offensive line and was “a force this year,” according to his coach, and the first guy to encourage his teammates.

Gonzalez and West also showed a ton of promise and will be wreaking havoc in the H-DNL for two more seasons.

Ferndale’s Lane Branstetter

“Our super sophomores are already in the weight room,” Haraldson said. “Those guys are just absolute machines.”

Fortuna, which barely lost to Eureka in the season finale and finished 4-1, had four seniors and a junior named first-team all-league.

Senior WR/safety Branson Gans could very well have been the Big 4 MVP this spring, while QB/LB Max Hough, RB/DB Levi Nyberg and RB/LB Micaiah Montalbin each also made the list after their final high school campaigns.

So too did junior lineman Keith Chittenden, who was a consistent force for the high-flying Huskies all season, earning the admiration of several opposing coaches.

“As a group, I’m super proud of their effort,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said of his team’s all-league selections. “They’re program guys. They’ve been with us a long time, and I’m super proud of all of them.”

Like Fortuna, the Ferndale Wildcats (4-1) were a team that featured a senior-heavy roster and likely would have made some serious noise in the North Coast Sections playoffs and perhaps even beyond, had they got that opportunity.

Check out Hoopa’s Larry Tracy making a big touchdown-saving tackle in a game at Ferndale this spring …

The Cats’ five senior all-league selections epitomized Ferndale football, none more so than RB/LB Lane Branstetter, who started the season with an outstanding performance at St. Bernard’s and never relented.

Also making the list is quarterback Jenner Christiansen, who is a frontrunner for small schools athlete of the year in the H-DNL, as well as lineman Bryce Bell and RB/LB DJ Albee, each of whom brought a physical presence for the Cats.

Rounding out Ferndale’s all-league selections is wing back/defensive end/kicker Colson Renner, one of the most consistent players on the North Coast this spring.

For Del Norte, which finished up 2-2, senior Tanner Forkner was named to the all-league team after a season that was arguably second to none on the North Coast.

Forkner was a force for the Warriors, both along the offensive line and at linebacker.

“Tanner was the best offensive lineman in the league and the best defensive player in the league,” Del Norte head coach Nick White said.

South Fork’s Alex Harding

Seniors Kaleb Price (WR/DB) and Mike Germain (RB/DB) each also were named first-team all-league after outstanding campaigns, as were juniors Sam Schauerman (lineman) and Caleb Dodson (RB/DB), the latter of whom stepped up to help fill the void after returning league offensive MVP Levi Cox-Cooley was lost for the season through injury.

For Arcata, which was 2-3, junior quarterback Shane Purcell gets an all-league nod after a breakout season that saw him lead the NCS in passing yards.

Purcell returns this coming fall along with all of his favorite targets and should be even better.

Joining him on the all-league list are WRs/DBs Carson Tucker and Alex Jioras, and linemen Jack Baca and Tucker Rice, the latter of whom is the only freshmen on the prestigious list.

And speaking of young players, few teams were as youthful as St. Bernard’s, which finished up 1-4.

The Crusaders have just one senior on the all-league first-team list, along with three juniors and one sophomore.

Fortuna’s Max Hough

Quarterback Bode Joyner was the team’s only starting senior and enjoyed a solid campaign in difficult circumstances.

Sophomore Grant Omey was without doubt one of his team’s MVPs this year, and consistently outstanding at running back and linebacker, while junior LB/OL Jacob Smallwood continues to grow in leaps and bounds each season.

Junior lineman Perry Bailey and junior RB/WR/LB Demetrius Rawson were arguably the team’s top two performers most weeks.

The South Fork Cubs played just three games, but surprised some people by going 3-0 and finishing up as one of just two unbeaten teams in the league this spring.

Leading the way for the Cubs were Alex Harding, Sean Hassall-Hoss, Graham McConnell, John Gamble and Crue Contreras, five seniors who all had a huge campaigns.

Harding and McConnell are without doubt among the top all-around small schools athletes on the North Coast this year.

The Hoopa Warriors also played just three games this season, finishing 1-2, and featured a very young team with just two seniors.

Those two, RB/QB/DB Larry Tracy and lineman Sly Logan-Miguelena, both showed tremendous fight all season and were named all-league, as were the younger Darvin Davis, Lane Campbell and Andrew Hunsucker, each of whom is expected to continue to play a major role as the Warriors develop talented junior and sophomore classes.

Arcata’s Shane Purcell

McKinleyville also featured a very young team, which closed out 0-5, but the Panthers did have their bright spots.

Most notably the play of Azure Watrous De Salinas, who was a consistent threat on the line all spring, and was named all-league along with teammates Conor Alto, Connor Berg, Jayden Scher and Howard Henderson.

Honorable Mentions

Del Norte — Konnor Price, RJ Loftin, Giancarlo Desolenni, Jacob Dane and Trevor Freeman.

Eureka — Hans Chalmers, Rogan Bode, Jamin Guilbert and Kayro Jiminez.

Ferndale — Caden Rocha, Javier Lopez, Garrett Christiansen, Emmitt Albee and Charles Lockett.

Fortuna — Joey Quen, Breck Bishop, Regan Nyberg and Conner Pratt.

Hoopa — Jason Marshall, James Hernandez, Talon Borden and Gerard Marshall.

McKinleyville — Jack Clancy and Mettah Kuska.

South Fork — Zech Wilks and Caleb Wilks.

St. Bernard’s — Dominic Kofi and Brody Tomlin.

Arcata — No honorable mentions.

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