By Ray Hamill — The Arcata Tigers have bragging rights for another year.
On Saturday afternoon, Aleric Stone ran in for the winning score with six minutes remaining in the game as Arcata won the annual alumni showdown with McKinleyville for the third straight year.
The Tigers rallied from a first-half deficit to win 8-6, with Stone finding the end zone for both the tying TD and the go-ahead two-point conversion.
The win gives Arcata a 6-5 edge in the all-time alumni series.
“Overall, it was a very successful day,” said McKinleyville High head coach Keoki Burbank, who organizes the annual game as a fundraiser for the Panthers program. “Everybody came out with some bumps and bruises, but there were no major injuries.”
Burbank, who played in the game for the Panthers, threw a go-ahead TD pass to Dylan Miller from five yards out in the first half, and the Mack alumni were able to hold the lead for much of the game.
A missed two-point conversion, however, would come back to haunt them, with the Tigers pulling out the late win.
Rene Fonseca and Jayce Anderson each had big games for the Tigers at both linebacker and running back, while Josh Gentleman was inspirational for the Panthers at linebacker.
“He was all over the place,” Burbank said of Gentleman.
Ryan Ahrens, a current assistant coach with the McKinleyville youth football program, also had a big game at both center and linebacker for the Panthers.
Next year, the game will move to June to coincide with the Pony Express Days.