By Ray Hamill — Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow and his staff have always done a good job getting the most out of their players and fielding improving teams as the season progresses.
And they’re doing it again this year, putting a team that started the season 1-4 in position to make the North Coast Section playoffs.
The Huskies have won three of their last four games, including a very impressive 34-14 victory over Eureka on Friday night, and they almost beat St. Bernard’s in the other.
The Warriors, of course, remain No. 1, where they have been all season long.
They may have gotten a scare against Eureka two weeks ago, but it was business as usual again with a comprehensive 48-12 win at St. Bernard’s on Saturday.
The question is who belongs at No. 2 after what we’ve seen the past few weeks.
In fact, if you take Del Norte’s dominance out of the equation, this has been a fascinating season with little or nothing separating the next three or four (or five) teams.
Fortuna comfortably beat Eureka last week, but St. Bernard’s beat the Huskies the previous weekend and Eureka beat the Crusaders earlier in the season.
So which of them is a true No. 2?
Even the Little 4 has been very competitive.
McKinleyville might be 5-0, but the Panthers barely won both matchups against the Hoopa Warriors, whose four losses to H-DNL opposition this fall have come by just a combined 12 points.
Arcata too has grown as a team over the second half of the season and is playoff eligible after winning three of the last four games, including a key victory over Hoopa two weeks ago.
1 — Del Norte (7-1)
We at least know who’s No. 1
2T — Fortuna (4-5)
A statement win last week keeps the Huskies’ playoff hopes alive
2T — Eureka (4-4)
It’s been an up and down season for the Loggers, but they are playoff eligible
2T — St. Bernard’s (4-5)
The Crusaders have yet to win two straight or lose two straight
5 — McKinleyville (6-3)
The Panthers will try to close out league play 6-0 this weekend