Arcata

POWER RANKINGS — Crusaders enjoy statement win in league opener

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – The St. Bernard’s Crusaders are No. 1 in this week’s Power Rankings.

By Ray Hamill — A statement win for the St. Bernard’s Crusaders this past weekend sees them take over sole possession of top spot in our Power Rankings for the first time this season.

The Crusaders kicked off the Big 4 with an impressive 22-14 win over the the Fortuna Huskies in what was the most anticipated game of the year.

Now the new most anticipated game of the year takes place in Crescent City this weekend, when the Crusaders travel to play Del Norte with the league lead on the line.

The Warriors have won four straight games and opened league play with a hard-fought 6-0 win over Eureka on Saturday night.

If Del Norte can clean up some mistakes and beat the Crusaders this Friday night, a win for Fortuna over Del Norte next week could yet see the league end in a three-way tie for the championship.

If, however, the Crusaders can knock off Del Norte on Friday night and end a six-game losing streak to the Warriors, they will take a huge step toward a first Big 4 championship.

The Huskies struggled to find much rhythm in the first half of their loss at St. Bernard’s before picking it up after the break and outscoring the home team in the second half.

It’s unusual for a Mike Benbow coached team to come out slow like that for such a big game, but they will learn from it and should be fired up for a showdown at Eureka on Friday.

The Huskies will need help, but they’re not out of the championship picture just yet, and as SB head coach Matt Tomlin said after the game, this is a Fortuna team that could very well win a North Coast Section Division-6 championship.

According to MaxPreps, St. Bernard’s is ranked No. 2 in NCS Division 5, behind only Miramonte, while Fortuna is No. 5 in Decision 6 and Del Norte is No. 6 in Division 4.

Arcata, meanwhile, remains at No. 4 in our Power Rankings.

The Tigers have won four straight games in league play and can clinch the Little 4 championship outright with a victory at Ferndale this weekend.

The Wildcats, meanwhile remain at No. 5 and will need to knock off Arcata to have a shot at a league title.

Arcata is ranked No. 7 in NCS Division 6, while Ferndale is No. 6 in Division 7.

Check out video highlights of Trenten Hagler’s interception for St. Bernard’s on Saturday …

POWER RANKINGS

1 — St. Bernard’s (6-2)

The SB defensive line is playing at an elite level

2 — Fortuna (5-3)

Expect the Huskies to bounce back with a big performance at Eureka

3 — Del Norte (5-2)

The Warriors have won six straight against St. Bernard’s

4 — Arcata (6-2)

The Tigers can clinch a league championship this weekend

5 — Ferndale (5-3)

The Wildcats need to beat Arcata if they want to win league

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