Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

It was mission accomplished last weekend for the Fortuna Huskies football program as they finalized the 2012 regular season with a win over the Eureka Loggers on a wet and soggy evening in Eureka. The victory gave Fortuna sole possession of second place in the Big 5 Conference and a good measure of confidence going into the upcoming North Coast Section playoffs. The Huskies were awarded a No. 7 seed in the 15-team Division 4 bracket and more important to Fortuna football fans is the chance to see their Huskies host a first round game this Saturday evening at 7 p.m. The opponent will be the San Marin Mustangs who landed the No. 10 seed and sport a record of 4-6. The Mustangs compete in the very tough Marin County League and losses came to powerhouses Marin Catholic and Novato as well as other big schools. San Marin has had a 30-point win this season as well as a 28-point loss, so no doubt the final score at Fortuna will be somewhere in the middle of those results.

Last Friday evening the Huskies dodged a bullet as the conditions at Eureka High had a major hand in the end result. The football proved very slippery and elusive for both teams however, it was the Eureka Loggers that paid the highest price for their mishandling of the ball. Fortuna gave it up right away as the very first offensive play of the evening produced a Travis Milich fumble, with Warren Abbott recovering for the Loggers. That advantage was short lived by Eureka as their first play of the night also produced a turnover, an interception by Fortuna's Josh Jorgensen. Once again with possession, the Huskies struck quickly as first and ten resulted in a 62-yard sprint to the end zone by Husky runningback Brett Renner. Three plays into the game and three crazy, potential game changing plays, Fortuna led right away 7-0.

Eureka may have handled the game's opening kickoff with a decent return but with the rains increasing, the Loggers botched kickoff's No. 2 and 3. Fortuna's Josh Jorgensen and later Nolan Cahill each recovered the live ball on back to back kickoffs from Fortuna to the Eureka end of the field. Before the Loggers even had much of a chance to get their offense untracked, the Huskies added more points on a Bryant Head 24-yard field goal and a quarterback Jacob Hough pass to tight end Dominic Eastburn for a 5-yard touchdown. At the 5:01 mark of the first quarter the Loggers were already in a 17-0 hole.

The Loggers had a successful drive as the first period wound down but came up empty when the Husky defense stopped a fourth down attempt at the Fortuna 20 yard line. Twice in the second quarter loose balls on Fortuna possessions bounced the way of the Huskies. First it was Brett Renner's run that ended in a loose ball, quarterback Hough covering the pigskin. Later Colton Ross had the ball slip right out on his run only to see it bounce off the wet field and right back to his hands. It was all going Fortuna's way to that point. The Huskies did lose a fumble to Eureka's Kolton Martin but when they had to, the Fortuna defense dug in.

The second half started much like most of the first half had transpired, with a Eureka miscue. A quarterback fumble equated into a Brett Renner touchdown and later in the 3rd period, place kicker Bryant Head added a 29-yard field goal. In spite of all the loose balls on the evening, Head found a way to boot every time right down the middle, between the uprights. Eureka got on the board in the final period when Jake Gordon ran in a 8-yard touchdown and the Loggers added a 2-point conversion. Final score 27-8. Eureka did get bragging rights on the junior varsity game as they won 40-0 to complete an undefeated season for the JV Loggers.

Fortuna's Barros to run at H-DN Championships this Saturday

Fortuna High cross country runner Michaela Barros will be the best local bet when the H-DN Championships are run this Saturday at Bird Marsh in Arcata. Barros won the Sequoia Park event a couple of weeks ago and the Huskies as a team finished in second place to the Arcata Tigers. Then on Oct. 30, running on her home course at Rohner Park in Fortuna, Barros clocked a 20:17 to finish in second place just behind M. Coonfield from McKinleyville High. This Saturday's event not only decides an H-DN champion in the boys and girls divisions, but also bids in upcoming North Coast Section events are up for grabs as well.

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow huddles the troops during a time out in last Friday night's game at Eureka High. The Huskies took care of business, fighting off the rain and the Eureka Loggers to win their regular season finale 27-8.