By Ray Hamill — The Big 4 has been anything but predictable through the opening two weekends of action.
On Friday, Fortuna celebrated Senior Night with a stunning 34-14 victory over the Eureka Loggers at Husky Field, keeping their playoff hopes alive with one week remaining in the season.
The Huskies had with a remarkable five first-half takeaways and led 21-0 at the interval.
“We talked about putting together a complete game, and our kids did,” Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow said. “They stepped up and they made plays. We were really efficient on offense and defensively we played really well.”
The loss was not just a disappointment for Eureka, but a huge surprise after the Loggers’ outstanding performance against Del Norte just six days ago.
“We came out flat. We had no real energy to us tonight,” Eureka head coach Mike Marcelli said. “And we got beat by a better team. I give a lot of credit to Fortuna. They played with a lot of emotion and energy and really set the tone.”
Fortuna quarterback Coltyn Corning and receiver Tegan Rumley combined for three TDs through the air, including scores of 37 and 63 yards in the second quarter as the home team began to take control.
After a defensive opening quarter that saw each team manage just a single first down, the Huskies finally began to take advantage of some excellent early field position in the second period.
Check out Coltyn Corning’s first-half TD throws to Tegan Rumley below …
Matt Letter opened the scoring on a 14-yard TD run after Emmitt Lumpkin recovered a fumble deep in Eureka territory.
After Corning’s first two TD passes to Rumley made it 21-0 at the break, the Huskies quickly added to the lead in the third quarter when Jake Houseworth scored on a 60-yard TD run.
“Jake Houseworth was a beast on offense and defense,” Benbow said of the sophomore who is enjoying an outstanding season.
Houseworth finished with 119 yards rushing on 19 carries, while Letter had 77 yards on 21 carries.
The Loggers finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Jordan Urban returned an interception 30 yards to the end zone, but the home team would respond when Corning and Rumley combined for their third TD, this one on a 34-yard play.
“Coltyn played well and made good decisions,” Benbow said. “And Tegan, he really stepped up tonight.”
For the game, Corning completed 6 of 12 passes for 139 yards, with Rumley had four catches for 134 yards.
The Fortuna coach also praised the play of his offensive line, which gave the QB plenty of protection and time to throw the deep passes.
And they did so despite missing some players.
“We had a few guys go down on our line and we had some guys step up,” Benbow said. “Really as a unit we are able to control the line of scrimmage.”
Urban capped a good individual performance when he scored his second touchdown of the night on a three-yard TD run late in the game.
Juniors Elijah Griffin and Jeremiah Hall also played well in the loss and both “had a high energy level,” according to Marcelli.
Other than that, however, it was a night the Loggers will want to forget.
“We just did not play well at all,” Marcelli said. “I don’t even know how to explain it.”
On the other sideline, the Huskies have now won three of their last four games to go to 4-5 on the season (1-1 in league), and they will carry plenty of momentum and confidence into their season finale at Del Norte next week.
“It was the four quarters of football we knew we could play, that we’ve been waiting on,” Benbow said of the performance.
Eureka is now 0-2 in the Big 4 and 4-4 overall.