Huskies win over Tigers tops homecoming week; Fortuna leads Big Four into bye week

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Huskies topped off their homecoming week-long festivities with a solid win over the Arcata Tigers on the football field last Friday evening. This years theme for homecoming was "High School Musical, Huskies Edition." The class of 1962 was honored, as it was also the 50th year homecoming celebration at Fortuna High. The junior girls won the powder puff game over the senior class by the score of 26-6. A thrilling fireworks show, a parade around the football field and announcement of the homecoming king and queen highlighted the halftime show during the varsity game. To top it all off, a junior varsity-varsity sweep by the Huskies over the Tigers on the gridiron sent everyone home happy.

The Arcata Tigers came to town determined to reverse their fortunes from their loss to the Fortuna Huskies just weeks ago. In the early going of last Friday nights game, it appeared that the Tigers came to play with just that in mind. The Tigers moved the ball up the field on their first possession of the game however, Fortuna linebacker Zach Cahill twice blitzed and made solo tackles for losses. Those two defensive plays turned the momentum quickly around and the Tigers found them selves punting to the Huskies.

The Fortuna Huskies took the ensuing possession and came right out passing the ball. Two quick completions had the Tigers guessing and the Huskies went back to their bruising running game. A drive of a dozen plays ended with Husky quarterback Brady Shaha's two yard run to paydirt. A J.R. Reynosa PAT kick made the score 7-0. The Arcata Tigers had a quick possession after the Husky score and once again were punting the ball back to Fortuna. The Huskies made one of their few mistakes of the evening and fumbled the ball, giving possession back to Arcata as the first quarter came to an end.

That turnover could have been costly as the Tigers gained possession in Husky territory and Arcata pushed the ball into the Fortuna redzone. Just as had been the case in their first meeting, the Tigers failed to finish the deal on their scoring opportunity and the scoreboard remained at 7-0. The two teams exchanged possessions until the Tigers got on the board as quarterback Chad Blickenstaff hit receiver Alex Puzz for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 6:17 left until halftime. A missed PAT by Arcata left Fortuna with a one point lead.

Fortuna owned all the momentum to the halftime break as several plays later, runningback Zach Cahill broke into the open field and raced to a 42-yard touchdown. The Huskies opened a 14-6 lead with that score. Four plays later came a Tiger punt attempt, the snap sailed high and Husky lineman Tyler Graham pounced on the loose ball. Giving the Huskies the ball just 10-yards from the endzone, QB Brady Shaha needed just one play to explode through a big hole opened by his offensive line for a quick touchdown. The score jumped to 21-6 and remained that way until the half.

The 2nd half saw the Fortuna Huskies close out the win as Zach Cahill added a 2nd touchdown run and Tyrol Chamberlain added a touchdown as well as snagging a 3rd quarter interception. The Tigers posted a touchdown and a 2-point conversion themselves but were well short on the scoreboard and the final tally read 35-14. Fortuna finished with 288-yards on the ground with Cahill leading the charge with his 144-yards on 13 carries. Brady Shaha completed six of nine passes for 72-yards threw the air and gained 91-yards rushing on keepers.

In the grand scheme of things, the Fortuna Huskies are sitting pretty heading into the bye week. With an overall record of 6-1, the Huskies are untouched in league with a 4-0 record in the Big Five. Remaining games against Del Norte, McKinleyville and Eureka will determine the Huskies fate in conference. The Eureka Loggers only face their league opponents once this season and would have to go 4-0 in those games to claim the conference crown. It is conceivable that the Huskies could be looking at a league championship if the ball bounces their way over the next three games.

In junior varsity action earlier in the evening, the Huskies got back into the win column in a big way as they disposed of the Tigers, 35-8. Fortuna runningback Nolan Cahill opened the scoring as the Huskies took their first possession of the evening to the opponents endzone. A screen pass from quarterback Jacob Hough to Zach Hugh gained 25-yards and set up Cahill's 15 yard run for the TD. Quarterback Hough would later add a 40 yard run on a keeper and a Josh Jorgensen PAT kick made the score 13-0 by the end of the first period.

The 2nd quarter saw QB Jacob Hough hit receiver Colton Barcelos with a pass over the middle turned into a 15 yard touchdown. Hough later recovered a Arcata fumble but the Huskies were stopped on that drive. The Tigers botched a punt attempt that gave the home team another chance and Dominic Eastburn ran in a 13-yard touchdown, Jorgensen PAT good and the Huskies led 27-0. The Tigers had a drive going late in the half but were stopped on 4th down and the Huskies answered with a 38-yard burst up the middle by fullback Conner Hider for a TD. Zach Hugh ran in a 2-point conversion to make it 35-0 by halftime.

With the big lead, the Huskies pulled back on the reins in the 2nd half and did not put any additional points on the board. Arcata finally converted a drive as runningback Lakota Camp ran in a 32-yard touchdown, a Conner Cox 2-point conversion run made for a final of 35-8. That touchdown was the first of the season for the Tiger junior varsity team so they walked away with something there. A Tiger onside kickoff attempt was recovered by Fortuna's Dominic Eastburn and the Huskies ran out the clock. The win improved the JV league record to 3-1.

photo captions:

photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Fortuna junior varsity receiver Colton Barcelos hauls in a pass from quarterback Jacob Hough, eludes a Arcata defender and is on his way to a 15-yard touchdown for the Huskies in last Friday night's homecoming game. The JV Huskies built up a big lead by the half and cruised to a final tally of 35-8.

2. Fortuna runningback Zach Cahill accelerates and sheds would-be Arcata tackler Tyler Keil, as Cahill streaks to a 42-yard touchdown for the Huskies. After a close game for a quarter and a half, Cahill's touchdown was a turning point for the Huskies, as they pulled away to a homecoming victory over the Tigers by a score of 35-14.