By Ray Hamill — If this was a rebuilding year for Fortuna boys soccer, the rest of the Humboldt-Del Norte League had better watch out.
The Huskies completed a dominating season against the rest of the North Coast with a 3-1 win at home to Del Norte in the H-DNL Tournament championship on Saturday.
The win was the 17th in 18 games against H-DNL opposition this season, and sets the Huskies up nicely for the North Coast Section playoffs, which get under way this coming week.
The Huskies are currently ranked No. 2 among Division-I teams in the NCS, behind No. 1 Fort Bragg (14-0-3).
The one H-DNL team that has been able to cause Fortuna some serious problems this season has been Del Norte.
The Warriors, who tied the Huskies in both teams’ final regular season game a week ago, chased them all the way for the league title, and challenged them once again on Saturday.
“I thought Del Norte played a good game, and I was super impressed with their sportsmanship,” Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes.
When Fortuna standout Luis Atilano cramped up during the game, two Del Norte players came to his aid and carried him off the field.
Freshman Lane Shelton scored the opening goal for the Huskies, with the ever-dangerous Fernando Atilano adding two more before halftime for a 3-1 lead at the interval.
“We were a little sluggish, but we did what we needed to do,” said Holmes, whose team was missing some players due to personal commitments.
The Huskies were once again anchored by a strong showing from their central defensive partnership of Kevin Noel and Jackson Fairbanks, each of whom have been outstanding all season for the league champions.
The Huskies improved to 19-1-2 on the season