Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill —The Arcata Tigers kept their playoff push on track with a dominating 32-0 win over McKinleyville at the Redwood Bowl on Friday night.

The Tigers took control of the game with two quick touchdowns a pair of two-point conversions and never looked back.

They led 26-0 at halftime and stretched the advantage to 32 before the fourth quarter.

Kien Mazzotti ran in for two TDs, while Niko Zambas and Carson Tucker each had a TD reception from sophomore quarterback Shane Purcell, who got the start under center and didn’t disappoint.

“I thought he did some really good things,” Arcata head coach Jamal Jones said of Purcell. 

So too did the Arcata defense, which posted its second shutout of the season.

Arcata’s Stone Boyer

Jack Baca led the way at defensive end, with multiple sacks and tackles for a loss.

“They couldn’t block him tonight,” Jones said of the junior standout.

Baca wasn’t the only standout on a defense that once again set the tone for the Tigers, with the ever-consistent Mateo Vincent also causing the Panthers problems throughout.

“I thought defensively we were pretty locked in,” Jones said. “We only gave up four first downs, I believe, and I think we did some good things there.”

The Tigers remain in the hunt for a playoff spot and appear to be hovering in and around the No. 8 seed in Division 6.

They will likely need to win again at Hoopa next weekend to seal the deal.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to put us in playoff position,” Jones said.

For McKinleyville, injuries haven’t helped on a small roster this season, but the Panthers continue to battle.

“I think it took us a couple of plays to wake up,” head coach Keoki Burbank said. “We have so many players playing out of position. But we’ve really got guys just playing hard.

“Kyler Carr was a warrior tonight. Everything that was on the table for him to get, he got.”

Kaden Redner also had a big game at defensive end, making “a lot of hustle plays,” according to coach, and doing so all over the field.

Both cornerbacks Che Jimenez and Freddie Sundberg each also impressed in the loss.

In JV action, the Panthers defeated Fortuna 27-12.

With the exception of Eureka and Del Norte, the Panthers have now beaten all the other JV squads on the North Coast this season.


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