On Friday night, the top two teams on the North Coast will face off in Fortuna in the season finale, in what is essentially an H-DNL spring football championship showdown.
Both the Huskies and the Eureka Loggers are 4-0 and have left little doubt over the last four weeks that they are the cream of the crop in the H-DNL this season.
And both bring a wealth of matchup problems for the other.
“They bring a lot of issues and matchups that are very tricky,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said of the Loggers. “They have so many guys that do so many different things, it’s tough.”
The Huskies will be just as dangerous.
“Benbow runs so many formations,” Eureka head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “They do a lot of different stuff. When you play Fortuna you’ve got to be ready for a lot of things, and they always have some trick somewhere up their sleeves. Every game, you’ll see something new.”
The Loggers are among the most improved teams over the course of the season, and a largely young lineup has matured quicker than expected.
They have six or seven big playmakers on offense, as well as plenty of size, physicality and depth along the lines.
Likewise with the Huskies, who feature a more veteran lineup with 16 seniors on their roster, many in key positions.
The Huskies won a tough battle in their closest game of the season at Del Norte last week, and after they had just 12 pass attempts and 33 carries Benbow says he will switch things up for this week’s game.
“We definitely have some things to work on,” the long-time head coach said. “We’re going to go back to what we’re good at. We’ve got to have balance.”
The Loggers, meanwhile, are embracing a challenge few thought they would be in a position to achieve at this stage of their development.
“We get to throw everything at them,” Haraldson said. “We have nothing to lose, so we’re going to go for it.
“Our mindset is we’ve got nothing to lose and we’re swinging for the fences.”
Whoever walks off into the sunset with a perfect record on Friday, it should be a great night for H-DNL football and a great way to celebrate an exciting spring season.
“Our players have been excited for all eight weeks, and I think that our kids are very appreciative about getting the opportunity to play,” Benbow said. “And we have two 4-0 teams going against each other on senior night.
“There’s a lot of good things. There’s a ton of excitement. We’re excited, and it’s going to be a good night for Humboldt County.”
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m., with the schools’ JV teams playing at 5 p.m.