By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers ended a five-game losing streak with a dominating 48-13 victory over Fortuna at Albee Stadium on Friday night.
Daniel Garcia-Hall had a breakout game and ran in for three touchdowns in the win, while teammate Hans Chalmers (QB/CB) threw for three TDs and also scored on a pick-six early in the second quarter as the home team began to take control.
“We’ve been beating ourselves every game with the exception of the Windsor game, and so our coaches have been preaching and preaching about getting the penalties down and making blocks, and we did that,” Eureka head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “Our guys executed tonight, and we knew they were capable of that.”
The showdown was a far cry from the first time these two teams played three weeks ago, when the Huskies edged out a victory.
It appeared early on that this game would be just as competitive, but the home team began to put their stamp on the game late in the first quarter and quickly pulled away after that, with the officials going to a running clock in the fourth quarter.
After stalling on their opening drive, the Loggers opened their account late in the first quarter when Chalmers connected with receiver Payton Harbin on an 18-yard TD pass, a scoring drive that was set up when Chan Vang recovered a fumble at the Fortuna 30.
The Loggers defense was just getting started and they continued to set the tone a couple of minutes later when Garcia-Hall broke up a pass on a fake punt on fourth down to give the home team possession at the Fortuna 36.
On the very next play, Garcia-Hall broke free for a 36-yard TD run, his first of the night and a play that would kickstart a four-minute, 10-play run that would see the home team take complete control of the game.
Two plays into the ensuing Fortuna drive, Chalmers intercepted the ball and ran 56 yards for a TD.
Check out Kayro Jimenez’s 77-yard TD reception above …
Three plays into Fortuna’s next drive, Kayro Jimenez came up with the home team’s third takeaway of the half, intercepting the ball at the Fortuna 40.
Three plays later, Chalmers connected with Rogan Bode on a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the Loggers a 28-7 lead.
The Huskies then answered with a long TD drive of their own, marching 69 yards on 13 plays and scoring on a six-yard TD run by QB Coltyn Corning to pull back within two scores at halftime.
The second half, however, belonged to the Loggers, who scored three more touchdowns in the third quarter.
Jimenez got the quarter off to a flying start when he broke free for a 77-yard TD reception on the very first snap of the half.
Garcia-Hall then scored his second TD of the night midway through the third quarter on a two-yard run, a play that was set up on a Joe Gonzalez fumble recovery in Fortuna territory after the Loggers had punted.
Gonzalez had another outstanding game after switching from tight end to center, a position he played last season,
“He was amazing,” Haraldson said of the junior standout, who was every bit as impressive on defense. “He made an impact all over the field.”
Garcia-Hall closed out the scoring on a 36-yard run in the final minute of the period to put the Loggers up by 35.
“He was incredible, and we knew that’s who he is,” Haraldson said of Garcia-Hall. “He works his tail off and he’s just a great kid. We knew that he had that in him.”
Dominic Conant capped a huge night for the Loggers defense midway through the fourth quarter when he intercepted the ball for the unit’s fourth takeaway of the game.
For the second straight week, the Eureka players came out with added intensity, and that, coupled with limiting their mistakes in this game, appears to have made a big difference.
“It’s a combination of limiting the mistakes and playing with the right level of intensity and competitiveness, and I think our guys are starting to get it,” Haraldson said. “They got better last week, and I think the mindset of the team has taken a big step.”
The Huskies started strong, marching 65 yards on an opening drive that took almost seven minutes off the clock and scoring on a 10-yard TD pass from Corning to Will May.
Logan Miranda finished with 106 yards total offense.
With the win, the Loggers are now 1-3 in the Big 4 and 2-5 overall, while the Huskies dropped to 1-3 and 4-4.