By Ray Hamill — If it was difficult to foresee anyone stopping the Del Norte Warriors in the Big 4 before last weekend, it’s now even more so.
In a showdown between the top two teams in the area, Del Norte crushed the Eureka Loggers 45-0 on Friday night, and with No. 3 St. Bernard’s also losing on Saturday, the gap between the No. 1 team in the H-DNL and the rest of the field appears to be widening.
The Warriors will now enjoy a three-week break between games with back-to-back bye weekends, although don’t expect this roster to lose any momentum.
With head coach Nick White leading the way, these Warriors won’t get ahead of themselves and they will approach their final three regular season games — all of them in the Big 4 — in the same manner.
The Loggers, who have been enjoying a good season, will also have a three-week break in action after Piedmont canceled a scheduled game this weekend.
After two straight shutouts at the hands of the Warriors dating back to last season, they have some work to do if they are going to challenge them when they meet again in both teams’ league opener on Oct. 22.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, should be stronger down the stretch of the season now that they are at full strength.
The fell at Oakland Tech last weekend, with too many mistakes at crucial times on drives, but that’s correctable and the O-Line is building some momentum, which is always a good thing heading into the business end of the season.
With the exception of a one-point loss at St. Bernard’s earlier in the season, the Hoopa D has shut out opponents in 13 of the 16 quarters they’ve played.
No. 5 McKinleyville also won last weekend, getting the better of Ferndale in their Little 4 opener.
If the Panthers can find a way to stay focused for all four quarters of a game they have a good enough defense to challenge for the league championship and make some noise in the North Coast Section playoffs.
1 — Del Norte (5-1)
A clearcut No. 1 right now
2 — Eureka (3-2)
Loggers will get another shot at Del Norte in two weeks
3 — St. Bernard’s (2-3)
Expect the Crusaders to challenge for the No. 2 spot down the stretch
4 — Hoopa (4-1)
The Warriors are on a roll and playing with a lot of confidence
5 — McKinleyville (2-3)
Panthers got a much-needed win over Ferndale