By Ray Hamill — It was a good week for local athletes with several very worthy candidates for our Athletes and Team of the Week.
A pair of local football players, in particular, had weeks they won’t forget any time soon, while a busy St. Bernard’s senior left her mark in a pair of different sports.
Arcata sophomore Luke Lemke announced his presence in a big way when he led the Tigers to a thrilling come-from-behind win against Ferndale to give them sole possession of top spot in the Little 4.
For good measure, the athletic Lemke also helped break up a potential game-winning TD catch in the end zone for Ferndale right as the game ended.
He wasn’t the only local football player to enjoy a huge week.
College of the Redwoods sophomore Levi Cox-Cooley left his mark on the Corsairs record books in a 42-24 win over Los Medanos at the Redwood Bowl.
The former Del Norte Warrior ran for 281 yards, which is the second best single-game rushing performance in school history.
He also ran for three touchdowns, including a 97-yard score in the second quarter that tied a school record.
So too will standout performances in two different sports.
And that’s exactly what St. Bernard’s senior Hannah Finck did.
Finck has been playing key roles for the Crusaders in basketball, softball and soccer throughout her high school career and now she’s established herself as one of the top golfers in the H-DNL.
This week she posted low score in league play for the second time in three rounds on Monday and followed that by helping the SB soccer team secure a pair of shutout victories, including assisting on one of the goals in a 2-0 win over Ferndale on Thursday.
All in all, it was a pretty impressive week for the busy senior.
Our Team of the Week, meanwhile, goes to a squad that is cruising toward another league title and has been close to untouchable all season long.
The Eureka girls soccer team took a commanding lead in the Big 4 standings with a pair of shutout victories this week, beating Fortuna 7-0 and Arcata 2-0.
With the deepest roster in league and at least three or four players who would be worthy MVPs, the Loggers are one of the best teams in the H-DNL in any sport right now.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
College of the Redwoods Football, Sophomore
Give him an inch and he might run for a 97-yard TD.
Cox-Cooley took fun advantage of a big performance from his offensive line and left the Los Medanos defense in his dust to help lead the Corsairs to a much-needed win one week after they lost at Foothill.
The Del Norte graduate, who was named Offensive MVP of the Big 4 as a junior in high school, has taken his game to new heights as a Corsair.
For more on his big week, see Cox-Cooley leaves his mark on the CR record books …
Arcata Football, Sophomore
Lemke was equally effective for the Tigers and led them to their most important win of the season in their biggest game of the season so far.
Filling in for the injured Cole Vandenplas, the standout sophomore gives the Tigers a whole different threat at quarterback with his sensational scrambling ability.
He should only get better as he continues to evolve as a pocket passer.
For more on his big week, see Lemke leads the Tigers to epic homecoming victory …
St. Bernard’s Golf, Senior
Finck has been a key contributor on every team she plays on and that continued this week as she led the Crusaders to their first team win of the season on the golf course while posting the low round of the day and finishing in the top two for the third straight week.
She also has played a key role on the SB soccer team this fall and set up a goal in a pivotal showdown against Ferndale with a wonderfully placed ball into the box.
For more on her big week, see Finck leads the way as SB girls get first team win at Baywood …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Eureka Girls Soccer
The Loggers appear on course for another league championship and they look like they will be frontrunners for the North Coast Section title as well.
There are numerous stars on this team that all play key roles and the roster depth and experience is second to none here on the North Coast.
In particular, the midfield trio of Ella Tollefson, Angelina Conant and Lila Ekholdt, along with the defensive pairing of Paige Rodgers and Maia Hales and the offensive threats of Grace Nelson and Lorena Hernandes all have been outstanding all season in leading the team to a 9-0-1 record, including nine shutouts.
Head coach Tommy Learmouth has his players playing well as a cohesive unit and playing their best soccer of the year at the business end of the season.
For more on their big week, see Two late goals lift the Loggers past the Tigers …