The action gets under way with a pair of games on Friday night, when Eureka travels to McKinleyville and St. Bernard’s heads to Fortuna to play the Huskies B team.
The young Crusaders lost their opener last weekend, falling 12-0 to a tough, physical Ferndale team, and this week head coach Matt Tomlin and his staff will be looking for the offense to find more rhythm.
“We had no tempo in the first game offensively, we were really stagnant,” Tomlin said. “And I really want to get that flow back, to get that swagger back on offense.”
Tomlin and his players have enjoyed a good week of practice, while moving some personnel around.
“It was nice after the first game to evaluate our personnel,” the head coach said. “Evaluate what we think our strengths are and what our weaknesses are.”
Losing junior receiver/defensive back Peyton Smith for a few weeks through injury hasn’t helped matters for a Crusaders team that features just one senior starter.
On the upside, however, St. Bernard’s welcomes Deshaun Bailey to the lineup for the first time after he missed the opening game.
And Tomlin expects a big contribution from the newcomer, who will start at defensive end.
“We think he’s going to be force for us,” the coach said.
The Fortuna B roster, meanwhile, will feature mostly sophomores, and they’re eagerly looking forward to the opportunity to play their first game.
“Our Killer Bs are playing,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said. “We’re super excited for them. Our young guys are going to have a game under the lights.”
Benbow and his staff volunteered to field an A and B team this spring so as to give the H-DNL an even number of teams and avoid byes in an already shortened season.
“The first thing I want to say is how thankful we are and how thankful everybody in the H-DN is that Fortuna are fielding a B team,” Tomlin said. “And then the second thing I want to say is that coach Benbow, in my opinion, might be the best coach on the North Coast and we don’t expect a drop off (from their B team).
“Fortuna plays tough and physical and that’s always a staple of their teams. I expect them to come after us tomorrow.”
The game, which kicks off at 7 p.m., will be streamed live on YouTube by searching “Luke Omey.”