By Ray Hamill — Both Eureka and Del Norte are looking to end long championship droughts in boys soccer this year, in what has been one of the most exciting league campaigns we’ve seen in some time.
With just nine days remaining in the regular season, remarkably four of the seven teams are still in contention, and no team has won more than 66 percent of its games.
The Loggers have not won a league crown since 2007, when current Fortuna head coach Daniel Holmes was in charge of the program.
Fortuna and Arcata also remain in the chase for this year’s pennant.
The Huskies have enjoyed plenty of recent success under Holmes and last won the league title just two years ago, while the Tigers are the reigning league champs.
So which team has the best chance?
Fortuna and Eureka currently lead the way with 14 points apiece with two games remaining each after the Loggers beat the Huskies 2-0 on Wednesday night.
But Del Norte is right on their heels and is the only team to hold its fate in its own hands.
The problem for the Warriors is they face a tough remaining schedule, with away games at Arcata and Eureka and a home game against McKinleyville sandwiched in between.
However, they are the hottest team in league play right now and are unbeaten in six straight games with both of their losses coming in the opening three games of their league schedule.
Fortuna, on the other hand has a relatively easy run-in with games at home to St. Bernard’s and at South Fork.
The Cubs knocked off Arcata earlier in the season so Holmes and his players can’t take them lightly, but it would be a major surprise if the Huskies don’t win both of their remaining games against a pair of teams that are a combined 2-15-2 in league play.
Eureka travels to South Fork on Friday and hosts Del Norte eight days later on the final day of the regular season.
The league title could very well be decided in that game.
The Tigers are three points behind the two league leaders and if they win their remaining games against Del Norte (home), South Fork (home) and McKinleyville (away), they likely will still finish a point behind the Huskies and possibly the Loggers.
But they’re still in the chase.
Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating run-in and as exciting a finish to league play as we’ve seen in some time.
Remaining games for the four contenders …
Fortuna — St. Bernard’s (home) and South Fork (away).
Eureka — South Fork (away) and Del Norte (home).
Del Norte — Arcata (away), McKinleyville (home) and Eureka (away).
Arcata — Del Norte (home), South Fork (home) and McKinleyville (away).