By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers came up just short in their bid for a first ever trip to a state bowl game on Friday night, losing the CIF NorCal Regional showdown with Menlo-Atherton, 27-20 at McKinleyville High.
In a battle of two physical heavyweights, the Loggers struck first, marching 56 yards on eight plays on their opening possession and taking the early lead on six-yard Robert Weir run up the middle.
Eureka couldn’t make it hold, however, and the Bears responded immediately, answering on a 68-yard TD reception to tie the game.
After that opening Eureka TD, Menlo would score touchdowns on three of its next four possessions to hold a 20-7 advantage at halftime.
The Bears took advantage of some solid field position in the opening half, getting the ball at midfield after a fake Eureka punt and scoring three plays later.
They also took advantage of a Loggers fumble at their own 32-yard line, again scoring three plays later.
The Loggers, however, responded in the second half.
Linebacker Tyce Mullins recovered a fumble on the Bears’ first possession to give the Loggers the ball deep in Menlo territory, and Isley Tulmau made it count three plays later with a TD reception to pull Eureka within six.
The Eureka defense came up big again on the Bears’ ensuing possession, and the Loggers offense then drove 73 yards on 16 plays to tie the game on a Cruz Montana run.
Eureka converted a pair of fourth downs on the drive.
Once again, however, the Bears responded immediately, scoring on a 70-yard TD run on the very next play to re-take the lead.
That was it for the scoring, with the Loggers losing for the first time this season, and closing out with a record of 12-1.
This group of Eureka players completed back-to-back undefeated regular seasons.
Menlo-Atherton improved to 13-2 and will play for a state championship next week.
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