ATHLETES OF THE WEEK — SB senior, Tigers D stand out in openers

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – The Arcata Tigers defeated Eureka 19-8 in their season opener.

By Ray Hamill — Week one of the local high school football season as always gave us plenty to talk about.

As expected St. Bernard’s set a physical tone in the trenches and look set for a big fall, while Del Norte and Fortuna both impressed in their victories, also setting a physical tone.

Perhaps the most impressive victory, however, was achieved by the Arcata Tigers, who knocked off rival Eureka for the first time in a decade.

And that gets the Tigers the nod for our Team of the Week, sponsored as always by College of the Redwoods Athletics.

Head coach Matt Magers did a good job overcoming a slow start a year ago in his first year in charge of the team, as the Tigers won four of their final five games to make the playoffs.

This year, his team is off to a flying start, especially on defense, which paved the way to victory against Eureka and did so while epitomizing the term “team” with just about every player on the unit making a big contribution.

Our Athlete of the Week, meanwhile, is St. Bernard’s senior Wyatt Simoni, who got his season off to a flying start, as expected.

The standout running back/defensive end dominated the Hoopa Warriors on both sides of the ball, and he did so quickly and emphatically.

On offense, Simoni ran in for a pair of touchdowns in the opening quarter and had 166 yards rushing on just nine carries, while on defense he was in the Hoopa backfield as often as the Warriors running backs and finished with three sacks and four tackles for a loss.


Wyatt Simoni

St. Bernard’s Football

After finishing his junior season strong, Simoni has begun this year looking like a player who is determined to enjoy every moment of his final high school campaign.

He likely won’t enjoy quite the same success against Big 4 and NCS teams that have more experience and physicality than a young Hoopa team does, but he’s a player every opposing team will have to account for in 2023.

For more on his big week, see Simoni steals the show on opening weekend …


Arcata Football

The Tigers defense looked like a well-oiled machine in their season opener and that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Judging by the opening weekend, Arcata could very well be the favorite to win this year’s Little 4, and if they continue to play defense as effectively as last week they’ll cause problems for even the best offenses in league play.

For more on their big week, see Strong defense leads Tigers to breakthrough win over rivals …

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