The McKinleyville Panthers have been one of the most unpredictable teams on the North Coast this season.

They came into Saturday’s game against Arcata with just two wins in eight league games, yet they are the only team to have taken points from unbeaten league leaders Fortuna.

On Saturday, they were the good kind of unpredictable again, knocking off close rivals Arcata, one of the top teams on the North Coast this fall.

“We’re in every game but it’s all in our head,” McKinleyville head coach Ryne Deppe said. “We’ve got to play a full 80 minutes and we’ve struggled to do that most of the time.” 

Saturday’s performance was more complete, and after a slow opening 20 minutes the Panthers began to settle more into the game, with Nurzat Mukhamedali getting the only goal midway through the second half.

“We played our style,” Deppe said. “We definitely played incredibly hard and gave it our all and didn’t have any mental mistakes for the most part.”

Defensively, Alex Macy and Lalo Benavides-Garb led the way in the shutout, while midfielder Narayan Weibel controlled the center of the field.

For Arcata, the loss essentially sees their league hopes slip away.

“When McKinleyville went up, I was really disappointed with how we responded,” Arcata head coach John Davidson said. “We’ve really got to take a good look at ourselves and ask ourselves is that the best we can do, and the answer is no.”

What disappointed the head coach the most was the mental part of the Tigers’ game.

“On the soccer side of things, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s more our mentality that needs a lot of work,” Davidson said.

With three games remaining, the Tigers are now 6-2-1 in league play, trailing leaders Fortuna (8-0-1) in the standings.

Arcata plays Fortuna next week and Davidson is hoping for a positive response from his players after what he described as a wake-up call.

“I hope we have a really attacking spirit against Fortuna knowing we have nothing to lose,” he said.

Del Norte 4, Eureka 1

The Del Norte Warriors are getting hot at an opportune time.

On Saturday, the Warriors stretched their unbeaten league run to six straight with a 4-1 win at Eureka, improving to 6-3-1 in league play with the North Coast Section playoffs just around the corner.

Chago Montanez scored twice in the win, the first off a perfectly placed Danny Gonzalez cross and the second on a tap in after a Yahir Alanis shot was deflected into his path.

Jared Castro opened the visitors’ account late in the first half, netting after a Jose Regalado free kick hit the crossbar.

Adrian Arias-Chvez made it 4-0 after being set up on a through ball by Jared Castro.

Kai Gallegos closed out the scoring with Eureka’s only goal of the game.

The Loggers are now 4-5 in league play.


St. Bernard’s 0, South Fork 3

The Cubs celebrated homecoming with a shutout win over St. Bernard’s, their second over the Crusaders this season.

Jayden Paine, Cameron Messenger and Azul Graham each scored in the win, although head coach Kelly Paine admitted it was far from their best performance of the season.

“We played down,” the coach said. “It was just one of those games. Everyone wanted to score and we didn’t play our best overall soccer.”

Nathan Baffert, Ethan Kulchin and Tyler Bates each had an assist in the win.

The Cubs play at McKinleyville on Wednesday


Ray Hamill writes at, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.