By Ray Hamill — Friday was a busy night for H-DNL football with eight teams in action and three all-local games here on the North Coast, including the Little 4 openers.
The most impressive performance of the night was in Crescent City, where the Del Norte Warriors crushed the Eureka Loggers 45-0.
It was Del Norte’s second straight shutout over the Loggers dating back to last season and it was a statement win over the second-ranked team in the H-DNL.
Also in action on Friday night, the Little 4 kicked off with victories for both Hoopa and McKinleyville.
After a long month of traveling for games, the Hoopa Warriors finally got to play their home opener and defeated Arcata 13-7.
The Warriors started slow and had to overcome an early seven-point deficit, but they grew into the game and wore down a young Tigers team for the win.
At McKinleyville High, the Panthers came out on fire and stormed to an early three-touchdown lead, but the Ferndale Wildcats battled back to make a game of it in the second half, before eventually falling 38-22.
In JV action, Eureka handed Del Norte a first defeat since the spring of 2021 by a score of 8-7, while Ferndale defeated McKinleyville 24-16 to remain perfect on the season at 5-0.
The Fortuna JVs also won at Gridley, 28-8, while St. Bernard’s won 29-22 at Oakland Tech.
Fortuna 21, Gridley 9
The Huskies got a much-needed win on the road and improved to 2-4 on the season.
Trailing by a field goal, Fortuna scored a pair of touchdowns in 62 seconds late in the first half to take control of the game.
Caden Wilkinson scored on a four-yard run with just under three minutes to go in the second quarter, and barely a minute later Coltyn Corning found the end zone on an 11-yard run after the Huskies recovered a fumble deep in Gridley territory.
Quarterback Chad Mussey added a 19-yard TD pass to Rogan Gans early in the fourth to stretch the lead, before the home team scored a late TD.
“It was a good win for the Huskies,” head coach Mike Benbow said. “It was a complete team win. I thought all aspects of our game contributed to it.”
The Huskies defense did its part and shut down the Gridley offense for much of the game, while Fortuna had a nice balance of rushing and passing on offense.
Mussey and Corning split time at quarterback and both played well.
Mussey got the start and completed 5 of 8 passes for 56 yards, a TD and an interception, while Corning competed 10 of 13 passes for 146 yards.
Gans also had a big game and pulled in nine catches for 113 yards, while Matt Letter led the ground game with 42 yards on six carries.
For the night, the Huskies had 352 yards offense, 202 passing and 150 rushing.
Jake Houseworth also continued his impressive season with another big night on both sides of the ball.