Del Norte

Loggers hold off the Warriors to win another epic battle

File photo – Sophomore outside linebackers Magnum West (34) and Joe Gonzalez (58), pictured along with junior Jackson Hammer (40)

Two heavyweights of the Big 4 went head to head in Crescent City on Saturday night, with the Eureka Loggers holding off the Del Norte Warriors to seal a very impressive 26-22 win.

It was the second classic in Eureka’s three games this season, which is fast becoming an epic one for this mostly young Loggers team, now 3-0.

If they continue to play this well, there could very well be another run at the state playoffs for this program sometime within the next 20 months, and if they continue to play the same exciting brand of football they’ll be well worth following.

It was also the second time they came from behind late to win this season, while showing us a bit of everything against a very good, albeit young and small Del Norte roster.

They started fast, opening up a 20-0 lead in the opening quarter, before the Warriors came roaring back to take a 22-20 lead on a 16-yard Kaleb Price TD reception from quarterback Cooper Maxwell with five minutes remaining in the game.

But the Loggers had the final say, when sophomore Rogan Bode scored his third touchdown of the night on a 43-yard reception barely two minutes later, and the defense then held firm to seal a statement victory.

Along the way, there was some trick plays and plenty of surprises.

“I was impressed with the whole team,” Eureka head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “The whole week we talked about hanging in there and playing tough, and the whole team had a gritty performance.

“The first thing we talked about was playing tough, and the second thing was executing, and we did both those things tonight.”

The Bode brothers had a big say in the win, with senior quarterback Hayden connecting with Rogan on a pair of TD passes, including the game winner, while also running in for a touchdown on a 44-yard scramble to open the scoring.

Sophomore Hans Chalmers also threw a TD pass to Rogan to make it 20-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The fast start caught the Warriors by surprise.

“We kind of had some things we hadn’t shown before and we were able to keep them off balance,” said Haraldson, whose normally run-heavy offense had 223 yards passing and just 62 yards rushing. “We scored on some screens and some trick plays.”

Rogan Bode had three catches, all of them for TDs, for 150 yards, while defensively sophomore outside linebackers Magnum West and Joe Gonzalez were outstanding while showcasing to the rest of the Big 4 what they could be in for over the next two seasons.

“They played phenomenal,” Haraldson said of the relentless duo.

Keeb Her also had a big game on both sides of the ball, at fullback and middle linebacker.

The Warriors, to their credit, showed tremendous resiliency themselves to fight back from the early deficit.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” head coach Nick White said. “Overall, our kids played down to the end of the game and we had our chance to win the game.”

The Warriors rushed for 192 yards, led by junior Caleb Dodson who has stepped up in the absence of injured star running back Levi Cox-Cooley and ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns on a busy 29 carries.

“Every single run, he runs hard,” White said of the junior who has been very impressive through the opening two games. “He just has an unbelievable attitude.”

Michael Germain also had a productive night running the ball for the Warriors, who dropped to 1-1 with the loss.

Maxwell, a sophomore, also impressed for the home team, completing 11-of-21 passes for 110 yards and the TD to Price.

“We played really bad in the first quarter and really good in the second quarter,” White said. “Trying to stay consistent is a big thing.”

On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Tanner Forkner had a big night on a young Warriors unit.

“He’s just an unbelievable leader,” White said of Forkner. “He made a lot of big plays out there.”

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