By Ray Hamill — It was a good weekend for many local football teams, with four of the seven squads in action winning.
Most notably, St. Bernard’s rallied for a big win at Ferndale, the Hoopa Warriors held on late for their first win of the season, and both Eureka and Arcata won a second straight game as each appears to be building momentum.
On the downside, Del Norte suffered a first loss, although that may make the Warriors stronger in the long run.
Here then are five takeaways from the weekend action …
1 — St. Bernard’s the last undefeated team on the North Coast
St. Bernard’s will go into a mid-season bye at 5-0 and the last undefeated team on the North Coast after coming from behind to beat the Wildcats 47-27 at Ferndale on Saturday.
The Crusaders appear to have few weaknesses.
They have a deep and game-breaking group of skilled players, an offensive line that has been playing outstanding, and a defense that is arguably the best the school has seen in a few years.
Tougher physical battles lie ahead in the Big 4, but the Crusaders are as dangerous as anyone heading towards conference play and the NCS playoffs.
They are now the No. 2 ranked Division-6 team in the NCS, according to MaxPreps, moving back up one spot this week.
It should be a fun second half of the season for head coach Matt Tomlin and his players.
Check out Jacob Smallwood’s interception at Ferndale on Saturday at a crucial time of the game just when the Cats were driving
2 — First loss for Del Norte
This could be bad news for Fortuna.
The Warriors lost for the first time this season at Mazama on Friday night, in a game that could have gone their way but for a play or two.
The 4-1 Warriors may use this as motivation and it could serve as a reminder that there’s still work to do for a Del Norte team that had blown past opponents the previous three weekends.
Certainly, no one’s pushing the panic buttons after one loss and I expect the Warriors to come out flying again when they host Fortuna in a non-league game on Friday night.
Like I said, this could be bad news for the Huskies.
3 — Arcata, Eureka building momentum
It’s now officially a winning streak for two teams that struggled in terms of wins and losses the first few weeks of the season.
On Friday night, Arcata shut out Balboa 10-0 at the Redwood Bowl and Eureka pulled away against a physical Shasta team for an impressive 35-21 win at Albee Stadium.
For Arcata, defense has been key with seven consecutive shutout quarters to the Tigers credit.
Offensively, they need more consistency, but they’re building momentum and they’ll be a handful for the rest of the Little 4 when conference play gets under way next week.
The Loggers, meanwhile, have come through an 0-3 start to the season that saw them barely lose all three of those games, and have now posted back-to-back wins over Montgomery and Shasta.
But unlike the first of those wins, Friday’s victory came against a big physical team and shows just how far this young and relatively inexperienced Eureka team has come in the first half of the season.
They’re progressing, they’re healthier and they’re going to be very dangerous in the Big 4 once again.
4 — Ferndale now legitimate contenders for L4
The Wildcats may have lost to St. Bernard’s on Saturday, but as head coach Clint McClurg said afterwards, they’ll take plenty of positives from the performance.
As they get set for the Little 4, make no mistake, the Cats are going to be as dangerous as anyone in the conference.
This is a physical team with good small-school size, and plenty of offensive weapons, most notably the ever-dangerous Landon Gomes.
The Cats need a little more consistency, but they’ll go into league play with plenty of momentum and confidence.
Next weekend’s game at Arcata will be a huge one right off the bat.
5 — Warriors show resiliency in thrilling win
They had to wait longer then any of the other North Coast teams, but the Hoopa Warriors got their first win of the season on Friday night, beating a tough Trinity team 14-12.
In what was a thrilling matchup, particularly in the fourth quarter, the Warriors rallied from a 12-6 deficit and then showed their resiliency with a dramatic late defensive stand.
Junior DB Pergish Montgomery sealed the win with an interception near the goal line in the dying seconds.
The win will give the 1-2 Warriors some much-needed momentum heading into conference play against McKinleyville next weekend.