Football Roundup — Tough night for several local teams

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.,com – The Wildcats and Huskies faced off in the Milk Can game at Fortuna on Friday night.

It was a disappointing night for some of the H-DNL teams, with tough losses for Ferndale, Eureka, Hoopa and McKinleyville.

The one bright spot for the local teams was Fortuna’s big win over Ferndale in the annual Milk Can game, with the host Huskies dominating on the way to a 37-6 win.

Fortuna has now won all four of its games this season, while Ferndale dropped to 2-2.

Eureka and Hoopa both played their home openers after three straight road games to kick off the season, but neither fared well.

The Loggers saw a 17-point lead disappear late and lost 21-17 to Justin-Siena, while the Warriors were shut out for the second straight weekend and fell 36-0 to Trinity.

Eureka remains winless at 0-4, while Hoopa is now 1-3.

McKinleyville also lost, falling 63-6 at University Prep to drop to 0-3.

The short-handed Panthers had just 13 players suit up once again, as injuries, grades and transfer protocols have taken their toll on the roster early in the campaign.

Head coach Fel Barlow had a freshman starting at tackle and a sophomore quarterback and that was always going to make it difficult going up against a powerhouse University Prep team, who’s only los this season came at Fortuna. 

Ayden Hillis scored the Panthers’ only touchdown of the night on a run.

The Loggers, meanwhile, appeared to be on their way to an elusive first win before a series of late mistakes proved costly.

“Just when we think we’ve turned the corner, football comes back and slaps you,” head coach Mike Marcelli said. “I’m so disappointed for my kids. Injuries and mistakes continue to mount up every single darn week.”

File photo – The Eureka Loggers

With 25 players playing varsity football for the first time this year, the Loggers’ inexperience is leading to those mistakes, while a series of injuries have also created problems.

“They’re great kids, they play so hard, they just make key mistakes,” the coach added.

Despite the late letdown, there were some bright spots for the Loggers, who played some of their best football of the season in the first half.

Cole Zeller continued his impressive season and scored on a 60-plus yard TD catch from quarterback Michael Jewell, with Talamoni Neemia also scoring for the home team.

“In the first half we played very well,” Marcelli said. “We ran the ball well and we controlled the clock for most of the game.”

Zeller was among his team’s most impressive players once again, as was Gavyn Haberman, and both juniors have taken on key roles with the team this year.

Sophomore running back/linebacker Tau Ou also impressed.

File photo – The Hoopa Warriors

“Tau was fantastic tonight,” Marcelli said. “He’s a two-way starter as a sophomore and he ran the ball really hard.”

With injuries mounting every week, the Loggers got some good news with the return of the influential Elijah Griffin, a senior linebacker/running back.

The Loggers will try to bounce back when they host Piner (2-1) next week.

McKinleyville, meanwhile, travels to play Del Norte next week, while Hoopa has a bye before opening league play at Arcata the following weekend.

Ferndale also has a bye next week, before kicking off the Little 4 at home to McKinleyville the following week.

Fortuna travels to Foothill next week.

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