POWER RANKINGS — Three teams standing out early

Photos by Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — Last year Del Norte dominated our Power Rankings all season long, holding the position from the opening week until the final game of the season.

This year it appears to be a lot tighter at the top, with three clear frontrunners two weeks in.

And that could make for a thrilling Big 4 later in the season.

Two teams — Fortuna and St. Bernard’s — have come out of the starting gates on fire and appear to be the teams to beat in the H-DNL.

A lot can change over the course of a season but I’ve got to admit I’ve already penciled in Oct. 21, when the Huskies travel to St. Bernard’s for a Saturday afternoon league opener.

These two programs have given us some of the most memorable games of the past decade and this year’s showdown looks like one local fans won’t want to miss.

Of course, there’s a lot of business both teams need to take care of between now and then, and I’m pretty sure their coaches will have their players focused week to week instead of getting ahead of themselves (that’s for fans to do).

For now, I’m giving the edge to the Huskies in the Power Rankings, mostly because they have more experience at key positions and don’t appear to have a notable weakness.

The Del Norte Warriors, meanwhile, lost a lot of super talented seniors from last year’s dominating team, which was clearly the best in the H-DNL all year.

The Warriors lost a close game at Grants Pass on Friday night, but this is a program that has been equally impressive at the JV level in recent years and also has a very strong youth football program to feed off, so don’t expect the Warriors to fall off much this fall.

Arcata comes in at No. 4 this week, mostly on the strength of last week’s big win over the Loggers.

However, the Tigers were never really in Friday’s game at Husky Field and you get the feeling there is a sizable gap between the top three teams and everyone else, at least right now.

Rounding out our first Power Rankings of the season are the Ferndale Wildcats, who look much improved from last year after their opening two games, and they appear to be benefiting now from the recent success of the Ferndale youth football program.

The Cats had a very impressive come-from-behind win at Fort Bragg on Friday and are playing with a belief and confidence that should see them compete for a Little 4 title this year.

Player for player, I’m not sure they’re a better team than Eureka, even considering the Loggers’ struggles so far, but they deserve inclusion after the way they played on Friday.


1 — Fortuna (2-0)

The Huskies are firing on all cylinders right now.

2 — St. Bernard’s (2-0)

The Crusaders are dominating in the trenches.

3 — Del Norte (1-1)

The Warriors look well capable of challenging for another B4 title.

4 — Arcata (1-1)

The Tigers struggled at Fortuna, but they had a very nice win in week one.

5 — Ferndale (1-1)

The Wildcats look like legitimate Little 4 contenders this year.

3 replies »

  1. EHS seems to go through these W/L cycles… it is no surprise typically when a new coach comes in, it is sometimes because the previous coach saw the writing on the wall, and left it all for the new guy…

    … it makes the total rebuild scenario an effort that pays off eventually… humbling and gratifying…

    … the trick is to be Like Mike Benbow…

    …longtime tenured coach at Fortuna…

    …where new generations of youth players already know about and look-up toward as their eventual high school football coach… this is how programs stay strong and healthy…


    Ferndale had it too… and Hupa has it now growing at the helm.

    • Who are you to critique coaching. You have no idea what goes on with these coaches and their players. If you can’t be positive keep your damn mouth shut 😒

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