Fortuna Huskies eliminated from NCS playoffs: San Marin wins on last-second touchdown

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Fortuna Huskies were rudely excused from the North Coast Section's Division 4 football playoffs on Nov. 10 when the San Marin Mustangs scored a touchdown with 0:19 to play, breaking a tie ball game to win by a score of 25-19. The Huskies and their loyal fans have become accustomed to winning tight ball games such as this and there was no reason to think an incredible win was not in the script. Instead, the Fortuna Huskies ended their season with a 7-4 record, another stellar campaign for fifth-year head coach Mike Benbow.

The game started off upbeat for the Fortuna Huskies as Nolan Cahill intercepted a Mustang pass attempt. But the first two possessions of the game for Fortuna and Mustang speedy tailback Kyle Chernoff bounced outside of Husky containment and raced 80 yards to a touchdown, with PAT kicker Jason Shannon giving the Mustangs a 7-0 lead.

A drive of a dozen plays got Fortuna the 72 yards needed and senior running back Travis Milich bulled in the final yard. Bryant Head tied the game up at seven apiece a minute into the second quarter. The Huskies stopped a promising drive by the Mustangs and answered with a big play of their own. Quarterback Jacob Hough hit Colton Ross with a pass and 60 yards later, the Huskies were set up with first and goal at the San Marin 9 yard line. This time it was back Brett Renner punching it in from the three and the Huskies had their first lead of the game.

The game remained at a 13-7 advantage for the Huskies at the start of he second half. After an exchange of possessions, San Marin made the next big play. A quarterback Manny Wilkins pass to Jason Shannon equated into a 51-yard touchdown. Each team had missed a PAT opportunity and the game was tied at 13-13. Several plays later, Wilkins again hooked up with Shannon for a 15-yard touchdown catch right at the back of the Fortuna end zone.

The 4th quarter started with Fortuna at a deficit but QB Hough answered with a hookup to wide out Kyle Wiegman for a 36-yard touchdown that brought the home fans to their feet and a tie ball game at 19-19, with 10:22 to play in the game. Then, San Marin moved the ball to the Fortuna red zone on a fabulous catch by receiver Kaden Svahlin of 40 yards. The Huskies were unable to move the ball out of their end of the field. Starting at midfield, Mustang quarterback Manny Wilkins moved the ball down and fullback D'Andre Wright punched it in from one yard out for the touchdown with 0:19 left in the game.

The Fortuna Huskies were down to just a kickoff and one offensive play to go 80 yards and it was not in the cards. On the evening, the Huskies were held to just 242 of offense but more important was the lack of that timely big play when needed. Kyle Wiegman had a strong game on both sides of the ball as his three catches were a complement to his several tackles on defense. Senior linemen Ryan Erickson and Tyler Graham had exceptional games in the middle of the Fortuna defense. Colton Ross, Carlos Merez, Travis Milich, Kalen Barcelos and Dylan Burley had fine senior seasons for the Huskies.

photo caption:

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

The Fortuna Huskies line up one final time to pay homage to their loyal fans after a tough loss at home last Saturday night knocked them out of the North Coast Section, Division 4 football playoffs.