By Ray Hamill — It’s shaping up to be an exciting three-horse race in the Big 4 this season.
League play kicks off later this month and will feature three hectic and hopefully exciting weeks of league action.
But for now, we can only speculate which of the three frontrunners — Fortuna, St. Bernard’s and Del Norte — will take the pennant.
This past weekend, the Huskies and Crusaders both lost tough matchups, although both teams played well, while the Warriors continued to build momentum with a comfortable victory over Oakland Tech in Crescent City.
The big question right now is are we giving the Warriors enough respect?
I’m not sure they have a really impressive win on their resume just yet, but they are taking care of business and they appear to be trending in the right direction after winning two straight games since dropping two against quality Oregon opponents.
Should they be higher than No. 3 in our Power Rankings?
That question will be answered in due course, but we suspect a Warriors team that has not lost an official league game since 2018 — a streak of 13 straight Big 4 wins — will be dangerous once again when league play kicks off on Oct. 21.
And remember they’re doing this without their top running back, Caden Harrison, who is expected back later in the campaign.
If that continues, the Warriors will be tough to stop.
But so too should Fortuna and St. Bernard’s, despite their recent losses.
The Huskies dropped a second straight game over the weekend, falling 22-17 to St. Vincent de Paul at Husky Field.
However, head coach Mike Benbow’s team turned in a much improved performance from the previous week’s blowout loss at Foothill and the players showed a lot of character battling back in the second half and almost knocking off the top team in North Coast Section Division 6.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, lost a wild one against Ukiah 49-35, but will also take a lot of positives from their performance.
We can debate which might be the best positioned of the three Big 4 contenders, but all three will fancy their chances of taking home a league title in early November.
There are no changes at Nos. 4 or 5 in our rankings this week, with Arcata and Ferndale holding steady.
The Tigers and Wildcats both kicked off the Little 4 with impressive victories over the weekend.
The Tigers shut out Hoopa for a second time this fall by a score of 57-0, while the Wildcats comfortably got the better of McKinleyville by a score of 35-0.
The two league frontrunners are both now 3-2 on the season and will play each other on Friday night with Arcata hosting and the league lead and Power Rankings bragging rights on the line.
1T — Fortuna (4-2)
The Huskies showed a lot of fight in Friday’s loss
1T — St. Bernard’s (4-1)
The Crusaders made some correctable mistakes in their loss to Ukiah
3 — Del Norte (3-2)
The Warriors are quietly building momentum ahead of league play
4 — Arcata (3-2)
The Tigers face a big test this weekend
5 — Ferndale (3-2)
The Wildcats also face a big test this weekend