A late goal secured a key win for the Arcata Tigers in Crescent City, as the defending champions kept their title hopes on track.
Senior defender Noah Macknicki headed home the winner two minutes from time off a long throw-in to give the visitors a 2-1 victory.
The win was the second for the Tigers in league play and lifts them to 2-1-1 as they head into a midweek bye.
Elsewhere in the H-DNL on Saturday, Eureka scored six first-half goals on the way to a comfortable 8-2 victory over South Fork, while McKinleyville came away from St. Bernard’s with an 8-0 win.
Two weeks in, the Loggers are the only unbeaten team in league play and sit atop the standings with a record of 2-0-1.
The Tigers (2-1-1) are right on the heels, along with South Fork (2-1) and Fortuna (2-1), which had a bye in league play on Saturday.
After a scoreless first half, Deken Hanks gave Del Norte the lead, but Arcata’s Daniel Hernandez would tie things up before Macknicki’s dramatic late winner.
According to Arcata head coach John Davidson, it was a game of two halves for his team.
“But in the second half, our game kind of fell apart, our structure kind of fell apart.”
The game was one that got away from the Del Norte players after they allowed the visitors back into it on a no-look pass in their own box that fell to Hernandez, who “couldn’t miss,” according to Warriors head coach David Sanyaolu.
“Our boys stopped playing after deeming the Arcata ball thrower had his foot in the field while throwing,” Sanyaolu said of the late throw-in. “That resulted in the winner for Arcata in the mix-up.
“Tough one to take, but we will learn from it.”
Next up, on Wednesday, Del Norte plays at St. Bernard’s.
The Panthers, meanwhile, got the better of a spirited SB team on Saturday.
With the win, which was their second straight, the Mack boys improved to 2-2 in league play and appear to be building momentum.
According to the coach, one of the team’s main goals right now is working on their possession game and that worked well for them on Saturday.
Deppe also praised the play of the Crusaders, who battled to the end despite the deficit.
“They turned it up in the second half,” the Mack coach said. “They definitely did not give up.”
Next up, on Wednesday, the Panthers play at South Fork while the Crusaders host Del Norte.