By Ray Hamill — The honors keep racking up for Del Norte’s Sam Schauerman, and there’s finally some good news for Arcata’s Shane Purcell and Carson Tucker.
After yet another phenomenal season up in Crescent City, Schauerman is HumboldtSports.com’s defensive player of the year for 2021.
Earlier this week, the three-time all-league first-team selection was named the Big 4 co-MVP Lineman along with St. Bernard’s Perry Bailey Jr.
He was that and more, and he quite literally spent more time in the opposing backfield than any other player on the North Coast.
According to stats on MaxPreps, through 10 games Schauerman had 56 tackles and an incredible 33 tackles for a loss.
He also had 13 sacks.
Our co-offensive players of the year, meanwhile, are the dynamic Arcata duo of quarterback Purcell and receiver Tucker, who were on fire all season before being robbed of a shot at a state bowl game appearance.
Purcell, who was also among the NCS passing leaders in the spring, threw for 2,382 yards and a remarkable 39 touchdowns in nine games this fall, while being intercepted just four times.
This calendar year, in 14 games between the spring and fall — which is about the equivalent of a full season for a good playoff team — he threw for 4,201 yards and 61 TDS.
Check out some of Purcells’ and Tucker’s highlights below …
Official stats are not available for Tucker, but he had more than 1,000 yards receiving and more than 20 TD receptions, including an incredible six TD catches in one game against Ferndale.
Both players were left out of the all-league selections after their head coach was unable to attend the league meeting, and they had their season end in heartbreaking fashion when they were forced to forfeit their NCS semifinal because of COVID protocols.
(A stellar Arcata senior class that also included multi-talented Alex Jioras was robbed of a postseason two years in a row.)
But here at Humboldt Sports, we can’t possibly overlook their outstanding achievements this season and they were as electrifying as any players in the H-DNL.
(Both are receiving plenty of college offers and are currently weighing their options, but more on that at a later date.)
An honorable mention goes out to Del Norte junior running back RJ Loftin, who also had an outstanding season on the offensive side of the ball.
Loftin racked up almost 1,500 yards on the ground and scored 18 TDs, while rushing for more than 100 yards in nine games.
What was most impressive about Loftin is how he finished his runs, repeatedly gaining extra yards after contact.
Team of the Year
The Del Norte Warriors
Under the guidance of head coach Nick White and his staff, along with the sizable influence of Schauerman, the Warriors stood out head and shoulders above the rest of the H-DNL and dominated in a way we don’t often see.
Their ground attack was nothing short of awesome and their run defense was even better.
Team of the year was an easy choice.
Coach of the Year
Matt Tomlin, St. Bernard’s
This was not as easy a choice and there were several worthy candidates this season.
White, who has built a top-notch program in a short time, continues to do a remarkable job up in Crescent City and would be many people’s pick for coach of the year after everything the Warriors achieved.
Arcata’s Jamal Jones also deserves special mention for guiding his team to a memorable season after a shaky 0-2 start, while McKinleyville’s Fel Barlow deserves plenty of credit for turning around a struggling program and returning the Panthers to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Hoopa’s Floyd “Cowboy” Billings also deserves some credit for bringing the Warriors back from the brink of playoff elimination with an incredible three shutouts in eight days to end the regular season.
But no one got more out of the players available to him than Tomlin, who is as good a coach as there is on the North Coast.
He put his team in position to have success and pushed state champions, the San Marin Mustangs, closer than any other team in their 14 wins this season.
Under Tomlin, the Crusaders continually (and incredibly) match up competitively against schools four or five times their size in the H-DNL and around the NCS, and this year they swept both Eureka and Fortuna, shutting each of them out once.
As always, any head coach’s success is founded on their staff, but no head coach does as effective a job as Tomlin year to year.