By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna Huskies are the sort of team no one wants to meet in the playoffs.
Since a conference-opening loss at St. Bernard’s on Oct. 21 — a defeat that may have served as a bit of wake-up call — the Huskies have won three straight games and have steadily improved each week.
In head coach Mike Benbow’s own words, his team is “getting better as we go, which is a pretty good sign.”
On Saturday afternoon, Benbow and his players will try to qualify for a North Coast Section championship game for the first time since 2018, when they secured a second straight section championship with a 61-35 win over Moreau Catholic.
To get there again, they’ll have to win on the road against the top seeds in the Division-6 bracket.
Their opponent, St. Vincent de Paul, is 9-2 on the season and the Mustangs have also won three straight games, including a comfortable 56-12 win over Kennedy in last weekend’s quarterfinals.
The two teams have already faced off this season, with St. Vincent winning 22-15 at Fortuna in late September.
The Huskies gave the Mustangs all they could handle in that game, battling back from a two-touchdown deficit to take a brief lead in the fourth quarter before eventually losing.
For comparison sake, the Mustangs are ranked No. 23 in the NCS, according to MaxPreps, five spots ahead of Fortuna.
The Huskies, who were co-champs of the Big 4 with Del Norte and St. Bernard’s this season, are 8-3 on the season.
Benbow comes into Saturday’s game with 121 career wins at Fortuna and tied with Dick Cahill for most ever at the school, and a victory would see him become the winningest head coach in program history.
Saturday’s game kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast live on 95.1 FM, with Tag Wotherspoon calling the action and the pregame show starting air 12:45 p.m.
The game will also be streamed live on the NFHS Network.
A viewing party will be held at at Smokin’ Barrels Burgers & BBQ, with the game on the big screen.