By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers got the new season off to an impressive start with a comfortable 30-0 win over the Arcata Tigers at Albee Stadium on Friday night.
A large and enthusiastic home crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the occasion, as the Loggers came out strong and quickly took control of the game with touchdowns on three of their first four drives.
New head coach Mike Marcelli had to be pleased with the physicality his players showed on both sides of the ball, particularly linebackers Joe Gonzalez and Elijah Griffin.
With the exception of some early penalties, the Loggers showed no first-game jitters with a composed performance from throughout the line-up.
They marched 86 yards and ate up more than 10 minutes on their opening drive, coming up with two fourth-down and two third-down conversions along the way and capping it all with a one-yard Rogan Bode QB sneak.
Bode was outstanding in his first start at quarterback and did an excellent job running the offense behind a line that set the tone on the opening drive and never relented.
“Our plan going in was to keep them off the field and keep us driving and running the football,” Marcelli said.
The Loggers did that and more, with Bode, Daniel Garcia-Hall, Dylan Christian and Dominic Conant all running the ball effectively.
In the opening half, Garcia-Hall found the end zone on runs of 19 and five yards, with Conant also nailing all three first-half PATs.
The Loggers were equally effective defensively, especially Gonzalez and Griffin.
“They absolutely flew around,” Marcelli said of the impressive duo. “We saw some really quality linebacking today. I was really impressed with them and just the energy they brought.”
A young Arcata team had some bright spots, most notably the play of sophomore running back Wilson Medina, who had some nice runs and picked up just where he left off after an impressive freshman campaign a year ago.
“You give him a little bit of space and he’ll squeeze out a run,” Arcata head coach Matt Magers said. “We just got out-physicaled. They controlled the line of scrimmage.”
Magers, who also was making his head coaching debut, liked the way his young defense played early against the physical Loggers, forcing the home team to fight for every yard.
“I was really impressed with how our defense came out,” he said. “We just made too many mental mistakes. But I was really ecstatic with all of our young guys.”
In JV action, the McKinleyville Panthers defeated Eureka 14-8.