By Ray Hamill — We have a shake-up at the top of this week’s Power Rankings — sort of.
A disappointing loss for the Fortuna Huskies at Foothill on Friday night shows us they are still a work in progress, even considering they were missing some players and the strength of their opponents.
The Huskies came into the weekend 4-0 after some big wins over North Coast opponents, but they were dominated on both sides of the ball in a 42-0 loss in Palo Cedro.
It certainly will keep the players from allowing any complacency settle in and it will give the coaches something to work on.
Under the direction of head coach Mike Benbow and his staff, the Huskies will no doubt continue to improve as the season goes on, something this team does as well as any in the H-DNL.
But such a big loss sees them drop into a tie in our rankings with the St. Bernard’s Crusaders, who had a bye this weekend and are now the last remaining unbeaten H-DNL team at 4-0.
The two Big 4 rivals, who have produced more than their share of classic matchups over the past decade, will face off in their league openers on Oct. 21, and that’s a game local fans won’t want to miss.
Fortuna came into the weekend ranked No. 27 in the North Coast Section, according to MaxPreps, with St. Bernard’s just five spots back.
But that small gap will likely narrow after this weekend.
Fortuna is also No. 2 in NCS Division 6 (behind St. Vincent de Paul) and St. Bernard’s is No. 2 in Division 5 (behind Miramonte).
Interestingly, next week the Huskies will host St. Vincent de Paul, which is 3-1 after suffering its first of the season on Friday night, falling 37-35 to Montgomery.
The Warriors (2-2) have won three straight league titles and could very well contend again this year.
They remain the wild card in the Power Rankings but are steadily improving and have shown they have plenty of depth at the skill positions.
Playing without their top three running backs on Friday, they still rushed for seven touchdowns and 342 yards in a 48-18 win over a short-handed McKinleyville Panthers team.
Arcata (2-2) and Ferndale (2-2) once again round out the top five and both had a bye this weekend as they get set to kick off the Little 4 next week.
1T — St. Bernard’s (4-0)
The last remaining unbeaten local team.
1T — Fortuna (4-1)
The Huskies will no doubt learn from Friday’s disappointing loss.
3 — Del Norte (2-2)
The Warriors will be dangerous once again in the Big 4.
4 — Arcata (2-2)
The Tigers are physical and have depth at the skill positions.
5 — Ferndale (2-2)
It’s time to put the Milk Can defeat behind them and focus on league.