It’s getting a little crowded at the top of the H-DNL.
And if the leading contenders came into the weekend with little between them, it’s gotten even tighter at the top after Saturday’s results.
The Fortuna Huskies traveled to Crescent City and tied Del Norte 1-1, while defending league champion Arcata played at St. Bernard’s and won 9-1.
The Eureka Loggers also played on Saturday, handing McKinleyville a second 3-1 loss, having also beaten the Panthers by the same score in their league opener.
That leaves Eureka and Del Norte tied with identical 4-2-1 records and right on the heels of the two leaders.
It should be a fascinating race to the finish.
In the first of four straight home games, the Eureka boys took care of business against a McKinleyville team that has been causing the top contenders plenty of problems in league play.
Noah Wagar then gave the Loggers the lead with his sixth goal of the season, before the ever-dangerous Tomas Paoli capped a strong overall performance with his team’s third goal of the game, netting from a tight angle after a nice move to get past his defender.
“Tomas Paoli had an extremely dominant display today,” head coach Eddie Garcia said.
The Eureka back line of Luis Rodriguez, Kaleb Green, Luiz Gonzales and Eli Ladika all did a good containing the dangerous Mack duo of Flynn Creighton and Rylee Collart, as did senior goalkeeper Baeden Schinke.
Trenton Gerber also continued his strong season with another good performance for the Loggers.
Creighton scored the only goal of the game for McKinleyville and caused the Eureka defense problems all game long.
Up in Crescent City, meanwhile, the Warriors took a first-half lead on a Deken Hanks goal, his 11th of the season.
However, Fortuna’s Jesus Hererra would net the equalizer on a long-range shot and “put in a great shift,” according to head coach Daniel Holmes.
The second half was scoreless with neither team able to break the deadlock despite each hitting the opposing crossbar and creating some good scoring opportunities.
“The second half was a back-and-forth affair with our defense standing firm,” Del Norte head coach David Sanyaolu said. “I’d say 1-1 did justice to the well-played game.”
The Tigers, meanwhile, now have the longest unbeaten run in the H-DNL at five games and have not tasted defeat since falling at South Fork in their second league game.
But they will be tested this coming week with games at Eureka and at Fortuna.
“We are ready to go to Eureka on Wednesday,” head coach John Davidson said. “Team morale and belief is high and we know what to expect in Albee and are well prepared for whatever they show us.”