Which team is best positioned to win wide-open H-DNL?

Photos by Ray Hamill/

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.

Del Norte’s championship drought goes back even further, with the Warriors’ last (and only) league title coming in 1995.

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 Warriors trail the two league leaders by just one point and have a game in hand, so if they win their final three games they will be crowned league champs no matter what anybody else does.

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.

That means the Loggers, who are unbeaten in five straight games, may have to win out just to share the championship with the team they beat on Wednesday.

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 Arcata Tigers, meanwhile, are a slight outsider and need help to retain the championship they won a year ago.

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).

6 replies »

  1. Hey Ray, your site still has a major technology flaw with regard to wordpress… this is the only web site that crashes using wordpress.

  2. EHS has not won back2back league titles since… #15 started at Center Back…

    … still got the jersey, earned it as freshman CB coming off the bench for Mike Cano or Tony and Paul Jimmerson in 1984… we lost to Moreau Catholic in playoffs when competition was elite, not watered down like now.

    In 1988, EHS shafted the team with no playoffs as league champs, even though EHS paid for the volleyball team to travel to other states for preseason tourneys…

    …way to teach graduates how distrustful and backstabbing adults in charge can be!

    So, if EHS wins league, it will be a long time coming… but even longer for back2back status…

    …back then, as teams in league, players got business ads for a season catalog… classy stuff that makes today’s state of the sport look weak… how can something from 1984 still be much better, classier than 2023 internet reality…🤷‍♂️

    Anyhow, been 15 years since last seeing Marv Williams helping coach St. Bernards girls with Kathleen Lynch… Marv was a defensive coach for EHS… Dale Stockley was head coach until 1985 when Bob Sorensen took over after leaving Arcata and Tuck E. behind…

    Tuck E… a real ageless wonder for Arcata…

  3. In 1995, DN clinched league after defeating South Fork in Miranda… it was a hot, sunny day on a dry brown grass and dirt field…the school could not afford to water the grass turf, even though a river flows less than an 1/8th of a mile away…

  4. Don’t forget 2007 and 2008 when Holmes won back to back titles with Eureka. I believe Ed Garcia now coaching at EHS played on those teams

    • Not seeing b2b in 2007 or 2008 on maxpreps, but good catch if so!

      Also, everything after 1995 is “watered-down” for sections…with 2015 being the year the music died for sections…

      …so really, DN was the last great HDNL champion in male soccer.

      As far as EHS, 1988 was the best squad historically for the school, should be inducted as a team into the School HOF. The 5 year run from ’84 to ’89 was the school’s most successful.

      Further, the statistics back it up.

      Side Note: Tim Olson coached well in his short tenure for EHS, though it stung a bit since TO was AHS alumni… lol, all good…TO is a great guy.

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