South Fork Cubs win historic NCS championship

File photo

There’s something to be said about peaking at the right time.

And there’s something to be said for Humboldt County weather.

And Humboldt County football.

On Saturday afternoon, the South Fork Cubs defeated Stuart Hall 44-22 in muddy and wet conditions in Miranda in the eight-player Division-1 North Coast Section championship.

The section title is the school’s first-ever in football, although the Cubs previously won an unofficial Redwood Empire section championship in 2017, one year before the NCS initiated an official eight-player championship.

The victory also was the team’s sixth straight after the Cubs previously dropped their first five games of the season.

Seven weeks after falling to the same team in San Francisco — the last time South Fork lost a game — a determined Cubs team frustrated an explosive Knights offense and held them to a season low in points with their physical brand of football.

This showdown was very different from the earlier loss and the game was played in very different conditions.

“We played some Thanksgiving football in Humboldt,” South Fork head coach Karl Terrell said. “And we pounded them and pounded them and they couldn’t handle it. They couldn’t stop us.”

The game played out exactly as the Cubs planned after it was switched from Kezar Stadium in San Francisco to Miranda just two days ago because of the city’s concerns over the field in the storied stadium.

After the earlier meeting between these two schools in San Francisco, the South Fork players were determined to get a rematch, and when they did they took full advantage of a second chance and came ready to play.

“I feel very good about the win,” Terrell said. “Everybody sucked it up and played football. I’m very proud of them.

“We got to see them again and we took it to them.”

Wesley Way, Justin Freitas and Broc Contreras all ran the ball hard behind some impressive blocking from linemen Lucas Genolio, Trevor Hunt and Travis Way.

“We just ran, ran, ran,” the head coach added. “The whole offense gelled and kept their footing, and defensively we got after them.”

No scoring details or stats were immediately available.

With youth football returning to Southern Humboldt this fall for the first time in several years, Saturday’s championship should also give the area some much-needed momentum.

“It means a lot to the program, the community and the school, and hopefully the youth football will keep this thing going and we can get back to 11-man football,” Terrell said. “That’s always the goal.”

The game was called with 3:26 remaining in the fourth quarter when power went out in Miranda, but with the Cubs leading by 22 points at that stage both coaches agreed to officially call it.

“It’s a great feeling,” Terrell added.

While the players didn’t get to celebrate their championship at the end of the game because of the power outage, the Cubs will hold a rally at the school in a week or so to celebrate the historic achievement.

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