Athletes of the Week

ATHLETES AND TEAM OF THE WEEK — Panthers riding high after fourth straight win

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com

By Ray Hamill — It’s been a long time coming, but for the first time in close to three decades the McKinleyville Panthers are league champions in football.

And that gets them a well-deserved nod for our Team of the Week, sponsored by College of the Redwoods Athletics.

But they’re not done yet.

With a 34-0 win at Ferndale on Saturday, head coach Fel Barlow and his players clinched at least a share of this year’s Little 4 championship with two games still remaining.

They’ll go for the title outright when they play at Hoopa this week and need just one win in their final two games to achieve it.

We stay with football for one of our Athletes of the Week after the Eureka Loggers turned a lot of heads around the North Coast with their big performance against Del Norte on Homecoming night.

The Loggers didn’t win the game, but a stunning performance saw them push the Warriors all the way in a big turnaround from an embarrassing 45-0 loss to the same team three weeks prior.

A lot of players stepped up for Eureka, none more so than senior quarterback Rogan Bode, who is enjoying an outstanding season.

Bode is without doubt one of the top players on the North Coast this year and has been instrumental in the Loggers’ success.

Across town, St. Bernard’s Madelyn Shanahan is enjoying an impressive season in two sports and is also a well-deserved Athlete of the Week.

The busy Crusaders junior has played a major role in leading her team to a championship in Little 4 girls soccer, while also leading the school’s volleyball team to an undefeated league campaign.

And rounding out this week’s list of honorees is McKinleyville senior Soffia Reyes, another multiple-sport athlete.

Reyes has enjoyed an outstanding career for the Panthers in track and field, but has arguably been even more important to the McKinleyville girls soccer team.

On Saturday, appropriately on Senior Day, Reyes was involved in all four of her team’s goals in a 4-1 win over Arcata as she continued to play a pivotal role for her team.

ATHLETES OF THE WEEK

Rogan Bode

Eureka Football, Senior

Bode has been a huge bright spot for the Loggers this fall and appears to be getting stronger as the season progresses.

The senior was a big reason Eureka matched up so well against a very good Del Norte team over the weekend — along with the Loggers’ physicality in the trenches and at linebacker — and turned in an MVP type performance.

Despite the loss, Bode and the Loggers still have plenty to play for over the final two weeks of the season, including a North Coast Section playoff spot, and judging by Saturday’s performance, they will be favored to beat both Fortuna and St. Bernard’s.

For more on Bode and the Loggers, see Warriors overcome adversity, edge much-improved Loggers …

Madelyn Shanahan

St. Bernard’s Volleyball and Soccer, Junior

Shanahan has been a force on multiple fronts since breaking into varsity sports as a freshmen.

She has been playing at an MVP level on the volleyball court this fall, while also having a huge impact for the Crusaders on the soccer field.

The standout junior also is one of the top basketball players in the Little 4 and an outstanding track and field athlete.

For more on Shanahan and the Crusaders, see Little 4 champs complete perfect run through league …

Soffia Reyes

McKinleyville Soccer, Senior

Few players are as important to their team as Reyes is to the Panthers.

On Saturday, while playing her final regular-season home game, the standout senior capped a remarkable high school career with a hat trick and an assist in a second win over the Panthers’ biggest rivals this season.

For more on her big day, see Panthers hitting their stride, beat their rivals again …

TEAM OF THE WEEK

McKinleyville Football

They weren’t considered the favorites heading into league play, but the Panthers have been by far the most dominant team.

With their shutout victory at Ferndale, the Panthers improved to 4-0 in league play and guaranteed themselves a first league championship in the sport since the early 90s.

In his two seasons in charge, Barlow has turned around the fortunes of a program that had struggled for years.

Their job is not done yet, and the Panthers will be eager to close out league undefeated and secure the outright championship.

And if they do, they will carry plenty of momentum into the NCS playoffs and would get to host at least one game.

For more on the league champs, see Panthers end long championship drought with shutout win …

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