And they’re only going to get better.
Playing at Crusader Field, the Loggers scored three second-quarter touchdowns to pull away from St. Bernard’s on the way to a 34-14 win.
This year’s roster features nine sophomores, a rarity for Eureka, which improved to 4-0 with the win and 2-0 against Big 4 opposition.
If they can win at Fortuna next weekend, they will close out as the undisputed best team on the North Coast this spring.
They have been one of the stories of the season, and are improving in leaps and bounds every week.
“We’re so young, and the players are just so eager to learn, and our assistant coaches are so good at coaching them. They’re such natural teachers,” head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “And that’s why we’re seeing improvement every week.”
The young players are also showing a lot of versatility.
“We put a lot of players in different positions today. We played a lot of man-to-man, which we had not done,” Haraldson added. “And they came out and did an awesome, awesome job.”
Seniors Hayden Bode and Keeb Her continued to lead the way for Eureka, and between them they were involved in four of the Loggers’ five TDs.
Bode opened the scoring just 77 seconds into the game, scoring on a 20-yard run after the Loggers had marched 79 yards on just four plays.
The Crusaders, however, held the visitors scoreless for the remainder of the opening quarter, while pulling ahead on a 28-yard TD toss from quarterback Bode Joyner to receiver Owen Shanahan and a Brayden Luna PAT.
But the second quarter belonged to the Loggers, who scored three unanswered touchdowns to take control of the game.
On the ensuing possession, Her scored on an 11-yard run and added the two-point conversion.
Two drives later, Bode scored his second TD of the game, running in from one-yard out, after his younger brother Rogan Bode had recovered a fumble at the Crusaders 15-yard line.
Hayden Bode added the two-point conversion and was involved once again in his team’s third touchdown of the quarter, when he connected with tight end Magnum West on an 11-yard TD pass.
St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin, who has coached Hayden Bode in baseball, had nothing but good things to say about him after the game.
“Hayden Bode is one of my favorite players I’ve ever coached,” he said. “He’s the hardest worker. He’s the most respectful kid. He’s a coach’s dream. And what a great senior year he’s having for them.”
Check out Keep Her’s TD run below …
Kayro Jimenez scored Eureka’s final TD early in the second half on a 75-yard run, while his younger brother Larry had a big game in the defensive backfield, including coming away with an interception.
In addition to his touchdown, West had another huge day at outside linebacker, as did fellow sophomore Joe Gonzalez, who plays opposite him.
West also forced a fumble with a big hit in the second quarter to give his team possession in Crusaders territory.
And the list of sophomores contributing for the Loggers doesn’t stop there, with Daniel Garcia Hall impressing in his first start of the season at middle linebacker.
“He came in and did a really good job,” said Haraldson.
“We brought a lot more pressure than we usually do. We had a very aggressive game plan, but our kids did a very good job with it.”
A very young Crusaders team dropped to 1-3, but once again Tomlin was more than happy with his players’ effort.
“You’re always disappointed to lose, but I’m so proud of my guys,” he said. “They were competing, they were playing hard. Our guys were making plays out there.”
None more so than junior middle linebacker/center Jacob Smallwood, who returned a late fumble recovery 75 yards for his team’s second TD of the game.
“He was our player of the game prior to that,” Tomlin said. “Jacob Smallwood is an absolute warrior. He’s really leading our team right now.”
Quarterback Bode Joyner, the team’s only starting senior, also had a big game on senior day, playing what Tomlin described as his “best game at quarterback.”
The Crusaders also welcomed back receiver Peyton Smith from injury and he had an immediate impact, as did Demetrius Rawson and Grant Omey, who is emerging as a real threat at both running back and linebacker.
“His effort all over the field was outstanding,” Tomlin said of Omey, a sophomore.
Defensive back Tyler Dimmick also came away with a late interception for the Crusaders.
While the Loggers play at Fortuna next weekend, St. Bernard’s will host Del Norte.