By Ray Hamill — When it comes to local sports this past week, no one stole the show more than Fortuna football, which stunned many neutral observers and a large Eureka homecoming crowd with a well-deserved 22-14 win at Albee Stadium on Saturday night.
It was a thrilling showdown, with the visitors scoring the winning touchdown just nine seconds from time when senior quarterback Daeden Taylor connected with junior receiver Max Hough on an 11-yard pass.
Taylor was, in Eureka head coach Jason White’s words, “the difference,” capping an outstanding performance with an outstanding play.
And that’s good enough to earn him the nod as one of our athletes of the week this week, and the team win was good enough for the Huskies to earn team of the week honors.
In girls golf, meanwhile, McKinleyville senior Phoebe Sundberg also earns athlete of the week honors after placing a very impressive third at Monday’s North Coast Section Division-II championships.
An honorable mention this week also goes out to Arcata girls golf, which capped a dominating season locally with an H-DNL team title last week and a third-place team finish at Monday’s NCS D-II tournament.
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
McKinleyville Golf, Senior
Sundberg led the way for the H-DNL at Monday’s NCS tournament at Beau Pre, shooting a season-best round of 78 to place in a tie for third at the prestigious event.
The impressive performance was just the latest in what has been an outstanding high school career for the Mack senior, who also placed third at the NCS as a freshman and has been runner-up in the H-DNL in each of the past two seasons.
Sundberg, along with younger sister Isabella and Arcata’s Avary Henry, will now advance to next week’s NCS D-I tournament in Rohnert Park.
For more on her big week, see Impressive Sundberg leads local charge at NCS …
Fortuna Football, Senior
Taylor had his best game yet on Saturday for the Huskies, who, much like their quarterback, continue to improve and got their league campaign off to an inspirational start against Eureka.
Taylor ran for one of his team’s three TDs and passed for the other two, connecting with Branson Gans on a 37-yard score in the opening quarter as well as the game winner to Hough in the dying seconds.
He also had several big gains on the ground to help keep drives alive, and, more importantly, to help keep the Loggers offense off the field.
For more on Taylor and Fortuna’s big win, see Taylor, Hough combine on game-winning TD …
TEAM OF THE WEEK
This was a win the Fortuna faithful won’t forget any time soon, and an achievement neither of the school’s recent NCS winning teams managed.
And while Taylor was impressive, he certainly wasn’t the only one to be so in what was a hard-fought team win.
As head coach Mike Benbow said afterwards, his players knew they would have to battle on every play, and they did just that.
All of a sudden the Huskies’ season has taken on a whole new look.
For more on Fortuna’s big win, see Huskies win a thriller to deny Loggers on homecoming …