The Del Norte Warriors rolled over Oakland Tech on Friday night, while the Fortuna Huskies battled all the way against a very good St. Vincent de Paul team, and the Eureka Loggers continued to struggle.
With the Little 4 set to kick off on Saturday, it was the Big 4 teams that took center stage under the Friday Night Lights.
Up in Crescent City, the Warriors won their second straight game, dominating the Bulldogs on both sides of the ball in a 26-7 victory.
The Huskies played just as hard but came up on the wrong side of an exciting 22-15 showdown against the Mustangs.
But in what could be a playoff preview, the Huskies turned in a much improved performance from last week’s loss at Foothill and almost snuck a win against the No. 1 ranked team in North Coast Section Division 6 after rallying from a two-touchdown deficit and taking a brief fourth-quarter lead.
“Our kids played well,” said Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow, who’s team is ranked just two spots back of the Mustangs in the same division. “I’m really really proud of the kids. That was a heck of a football game. St. Vincent is a heck of a team, and our kids responded and played really well.”
The most exciting local game of the night was at Husky Field, where a Fortuna homecoming crowd witnessed a big second-half comeback by the home team.
One week after falling 42-0 at Foothill, Fortuna looked mostly flat in the first half of Friday’s showdown.
The Huskies trailed 14-0 at the interval and it could have been worse but for some very good defense that kept them in the game.
They rallied after the break, however, getting on the scoreboard on their opening possession of the third quarter when Jake Houseworth ran in for a 44-yard TD.
The Huskies added a safety late in the third quarter when St. Vincent quarterback Gabe Casanovas fielded a high snap and fell on the ball in his own end zone to make it 14-8.
The Huskies continued to battle after that and tied the game on a short Caden Wilkinson TD run early in the fourth before taking a one-point lead on a successful Kallen Barrote PAT.
It wouldn’t last, however, with the visitors re-taking the lead on a 65-yard TD pass from Casanovas to receiver Jack Davis, the QB’s third TD pass of the night and his second to Davis.
Crenshaw settled into the game and had a good second half directing the offense.
“I was real proud of Chandler for stepping up and stepping in,” Benbow said. “He had to learn to play quarterback in one week.
“In the second half, our offense got some momentum and we started doing what we do and took the lead. I’m super proud of them, they never gave up.”
Houseworth and Wilkinson in particular were outstanding on both sides of the ball, and helped set the tone for the big defensive performance.
“Both of them were huge in the middle of our defense,” the coach said. “They’re the heart of our defense.”
They weren’t the only standouts on that side of the ball.
“On defense, we got our swagger back,” the coach said. “All the things we didn’t do last week, we did again. It was nice to see.”
Even though the loss was the second straight for the Huskies, the performance bodes well for the rest of the season.
“What I was really impressed about is, No. 1 our team played hard for each other, and No. 2 our defense was solid,” Benbow said. “We basically gave up three plays that cost us the game.”
Benbow said he is hoping to have Mussey back for league play, which starts in three weeks.
The Fortuna JVs won their game on Friday and improved to 4-2.
Next up, the Huskies splay at Healdsburg next Friday.
Del Norte 26, Oakland Tech 6
The Warriors are starting to look like the same old Warriors.
On Friday night, the Del Norte offense ran for 348 yards as the ground attack wore down the visitors in a game that was decided long before the end.
And even more impressive, they’re doing it without their No. 1 running back, Caden Harrison, who is out injured but is expected back before the end of the regular season.
Senior Dominique Dixon led the way with 117 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries, while senior Isaac Lopez added 112 yards and a TD on 15 carries.
Junior Benjamin Borges also had 90 yards rushing and a TD on 14 carries.
“All three of them ran the ball really well,” LaFazio said of the three-headed monster.
The offensive line paved the way for that success with another dominating night in the trenches.
Lopez opened the scoring in the first quarter on a nine-yard TD run, with Dixon and Borges adding scoring runs of 14 and 12 yards, respectively, in the second quarter to give the home team a 20-0 lead at the break.
Dixon would add a second TD run in the fourth as the Warriors opened up a 26-0 lead.
The visitors would finally score late in the game on a 98-yard punt return, but it was too little too late.
Offensively, the Bulldogs managed just 74 yards all night.
Del Norte quarterback Kyle Dixon also had success running the ball and added 35 yards on nine carries.
The Del Norte JVs also won 28-0.
Next up, the Warriors play at Eureka on Saturday of next weekend.
The Eureka JVs lost on Friday night, falling 28-0 to Windsor.