By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna Huskies will put their three-game winning streak on the line at Tracy on Friday night.
The Division-I opponent out of the Sac-Joaquin Section is one of the toughest opponents the Huskies will face all season, ranked No. 197 in the state by MaxPreps, 41 spots ahead of the Huskies (238).
Only Eureka (95) and Cardinal Newman (58) are ranked higher on this year’s schedule.
Huskies overwhelm the Cats to retain Milk Can — Fortuna scores 40 points in the first half on the way to a 47-13 win …
“Tracy is big and fast, and they have a very explosive offense,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said. “They have some pretty good athletes. We’re going to have to contain them.”
To do that, the Huskies will look to control the ball on offense, utilizing a deep stable of running backs.
“We’re going to have to control the ball,” the coach added. “If we’re able to get first downs and keep the clock rolling, we’ve got a chance.”
A total of 11 different players have carried the ball for Fortuna this season, with five in particular — Joey Pontes, Levi Nyberg, Jason Besonceney, Travis Lourenzo and QB Zac Claus — seeing the majority of action.
And each of them has contributed.
“We have a few guys that do bring different things for us, whether it’s speed, or power or elusiveness,” Benbow said. “We’re slowly getting into a routine of who does what better.”
The depth of options helps in other ways too.
“You know, when we run our offense like we run it, everyone gets a bunch of reps, and it works,” the head coach said.
Claus leads the team with 34 carries, for 104 yards and two TDs. He also has thrown for six TDs.
Nyberg, meanwhile, has a team-high 185 yards and three TDs, with Lourenzo (150 yards, one TD), Besonceney (131 yards two TDs) and Pontes (133 yards, three TDs) all making plays.
Big win in Milk Can showdown
Last week, the Huskies retained the coveted Milk Can by defeating Ferndale 47-13 behind a dominating performance, especially in the first half.
The Huskies controlled all aspects of the game, running out to a 40-0 lead before halftime.
“It was a great team victory,” Benbow said. “And a lot of kids got substantial time, which was good for moral.”
The win, coupled with the prospect of playing a tough opponent this weekend, appears to have paid off at practice this week.
“I like our enthusiasm this week,” the head coach said. “And I like the fact we’re up for a challenge.”
Friday’s game is set for 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Mix 95.1 FM and The Edge 106.7 FM, with the pregame show getting under way at 6:55 p.m.