Athletes of the Week

ATHLETES AND TEAM OF THE WEEK — Senior captains lead the way

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Jonathan Cortez (52) and Lane Ford (69)

By Ray Hamill — A championship team and a team that took a huge step toward a championship take center stage in this week’s Humboldt Sports Athletes and Team of the Week, sponsored as always by College of the Redwoods Athletics.

Our team of the week is the Del Norte Boys Soccer Team, which ended a near three-decade championship drought by claiming the H-DNL boys soccer title this week.

The Warriors have been sensational on defense this season, posting eight shutouts in their last nine games.

And they secured the league pennant with three wins in five days, winning 2-0 at Arcata on Saturday, 3-0 at Eureka on Monday and 2-0 at home to McKinleyville on Wednesday.

Since dropping two of their opening three league games, the Del Norte boys have won eight and tied once.

They have outscored their opponents 42-1 since Sept. 23 and have not allowed a goal in more than 440 minutes of play and counting.

Because of all of that, the Del Norte players will carry a ton of momentum into next week’s North Coast Section playoffs.

Our athletes of the week, meanwhile, are a trio of teammates who have been a force for the St. Bernard’s Crusaders on the football field all season long.

Senior co-captains Kyler Smith, Lane Ford and Jonathan Cortez all play alongside each other on the defensive line and all were instrumental once again this past weekend in a statement 22-14 win over Fortuna in the Crusaders’ Big 4 opener.

As head coach Matt Tomlin has said multiple times this year, “Those three guys are the heart and soul of our team,” and that clearly was the case once again against the Huskies, as the Crusaders came ready to play and set an early physical tone in the trenches.

And they never relented, stepping up late with a big stop and forcing a turnover on downs deep in their own territory with Fortuna threatening to tie the game in the dying minutes.

Kyler Smith (56)


Kyler Smith

St. Bernard’s Football, Senior

Lane Ford

St. Bernard’s Football, Senior

Jonathan Cortez

St. Bernard’s Football, Senior

All three were expected to set a physical tone for their team this year and they have done that and more.

The Crusaders have plenty of talent at the skill positions, but also a lot of youth there, which makes the experience along the lines that much more crucial.

Without these three, the Crusaders would not have enjoyed anywhere near the same success this year and now they have SB in serious contention for a first Big 4 championship.

For more on their big week, see Crusaders answer the call, hold on late to win big showdown …


Del Norte Boys Soccer

After they won a first league title since 1995 and just the program’s second ever in boys soccer, who’s to say the Warriors won’t take home a first-ever NCS crown in the coming weeks.

At the very least, Del Norte will present a huge challenge for opposing attacks and head coach David Sanyaolu has his players playing as a cohesive unit with a balanced lineup.

“We have very good balance,” the coach said. “We don’t have one area of weakness,”

They also have a junior-heavy roster and should contend for another league title a year from now.

For more on their big week, see Del Norte Warriors crowned H-DNL boys soccer champions …

1 reply »

  1. This defense by DN… what is it based on… a 3 cb or 2 cb system? If DN runs a sweeper, it is likely compressed, and at times, likely forming a straightish back line. If DN employs the use of a stopper that checks in and out with opponents AM, then likely DN is already running a heavy midfield of say 4 or more players.

    JUGGERNAUT so far this season, even the losses were tight.

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