Arcata

HIGH SCHOOL YEAR IN REVIEW — Standout performers and coaches in different sports

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Hayden Bode in action for the Eureka Loggers.

By Ray Hamill — This weekend here at Humboldt Sports, we’re taking a look back at the 2021 high school sports year and its most memorable moments.

And that includes naming our players, coaches and teams of the year within multiple different sports.

On Monday, we’ll continue our look back when we announce our overall athletes, coaches and team of the year, as well as numerous other awards.

FOOTBALL

Player of the Year

Hayden Bode, Eureka Senior

Bode was a game changer talent-wise on both sides of the ball, but even more than that it was his leadership and ability to direct his younger teammates that was pivotal to the team’s undefeated season.

Offensive MVP

Branson Gans, Fortuna Senior

The senior receiver was also a game changer for the Huskies and the biggest offensive threat in the H-DNL all season. Gans enjoyed an outstanding senior year in several sports.

Fortuna’s Branson Gans

Defensive MVP

Tanner Forkner, Del Norte Senior

Forkner, who will play at College or the Redwoods in 2022, was phenomenal at linebacker and probably the best offensive linemen on the North Coast as well.

Coach of the Year

Andrew Haraldson, Eureka

Haraldson will be the first one to admit he couldn’t have done it without his fantastic group of assistants, but no one got more out of a young group this year than the Loggers. Even more impressive is the fact he was a first-year head coach facing the countless logistical challenges associated with the pandemic, but still managed to pull off an undefeated 5-0 campaign with one of the youngest ever Eureka teams. 

Eureka’s Aquene Tollefson, left.

SOCCER

Girls Players of the Year 

Aquene Tollefson, Keylei Carroll and Klayre Barres, Eureka Seniors

The Loggers have so much talent in girls soccer, but this trio has played such a huge role for this team over the past few years and each of them was sensational this past spring. All three college-bound standouts are deserving of the honor.

Boys Player of the Year

Antonio Garcinuno, Fortuna Junior

There are some very talented boys players in the H-DNL right now, but none with the natural ability of Garcinuno, who’s also a 4.0 GPA student.

Fortuna’s Antonio Garcinuno

Girls Coach of the Year

Patrick Stranahan, Arcata

The Tigers head coach has been one of the most consistent and dedicated coaches in the H-DNL for years, and this season he and his players pushed a more talented Eureka team all the way in league play.

Boys Coach of the Year

Daniel Holmes, Fortuna

Holmes’ record over the past decade is as good as any H-DNL coach in any sport. He doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but he has built a dominating program that shows no signs of slowing down and would have claimed an eighth straight league title if one had been handed out this year.

Eureka’s Kira Morris

SOFTBALL 

Player of the Year

Kira Morris, Eureka Sophomore

One of the many super talented sophomores in the H-DNL this year, Morris had an outstanding spring pitching and hitting, as well as defensively.

Pitcher of the Year

Savannah Colegrove, Hoopa Junior 

The Warriors’ undefeated season all began with the consistent Colegrove setting the tone in the circle. This Hoopa team should contend for a North Coast Section title next spring.

Coach of the Year 

Shanna McCracken, McKinleyville

No other softball coach got more out of a younger roster than McCracken and assistant Drew Riddle, who have firmly established the Panthers as one of the top programs on the North Coast and continually cause the larger schools problems no matter who’s on their squad.

Eureka’s Parker Rodgers

BASEBALL 

Player of the Year

Parker Rodgers, Eureka Senior

Rodgers barely beats out a couple of his teammates for this award, but his performances this year on both sides of the plate were as consistent and influential as any in the area. Butte College is getting a good one.

Pitcher of the Year

Nick Dugan, St. Bernard’s Junior

Once again, the quality of pitching here on the North Coast this season was exceptional, with several aces on a number of different teams, but Dugan is simply in a class of his own.

St. Bernard’s Nick Dugan

Coach of the Year

Andy Olsen, Fortuna

This was a tough choice, with some outstanding coaching in the area right now. But Olsen did a phenomenal job establishing the Huskies as a legitimate force in the Big 5 for the first time in a long time and he deserves special recognition for that

An honorable mention here for McKinleyville’s Scott St. John and his staff for the job they did getting the most they could out of a very young Panthers team and one that improved substantially as the season wore on.

Arcata’s Brandon Bento-Jackson

BASKETBALL

Boys Player of the Year

Brandon Bento-Jackson, Arcata Sophomore

Bento-Jackson beats out a talented group of contenders that also included teammate Mason Railsback, McKinleyville’s T-Ryan Stumpf and Del Norte’s Kaleb Price.

Short season or not, he was exceptional, and he was so at both ends of the court, which separates him in this category from his talented peers.

Girls Player of the Year

Jadence Clifton, Del Norte Senior

Probably the easiest choice on the entire list this year, the Warriors all-time leading scorer was simply sensational throughout her high school career.

The Humboldt State bound star would have been a clear choice for league MVP had one been awarded.

Del Norte’s Jadence Clifton

Boys Coach of the Year

Dusty Scofield, Arcata

In three years, Scofield has built a very good program that should continue to be among the very best in the H-DNL. With an 8-0 campaign, Scofield’s team was clearly the best in league.

Girls Coach of the Year

Scott Betts, Fortuna

In two years at the helm, Betts has turned the Huskies into the best girls basketball program on the North Coast right now, and with several talented juniors due back next year that might not change any time soon. 

Once again, had there been a league title handed out, Betts and his players would have been worthy champs and likely would have claimed a second straight title after almost four decades without one for the program.

Leave a Reply