Fortuna Huskies come up short to Eureka Loggers; JV Huskies nab win over Loggers, first in several years

The Eureka Loggers rebounded from a week one loss and showed they are ready to take on league opponents, as their Friday evening win over the Fortuna Huskies set up what will be a interesting Big 5 football season. Fortuna had possessed a modest two year winning streak over the team from Eureka and in the 2011 season the Huskies won the Big 5 title, then placed second in 2012 behind the Arcata Tigers. It had been lean times for the Loggers prior to this season, while the Huskies had fared well in the league standings. While playing each other just once in the last two seasons, the Loggers and Huskies, as well as the other Big 5 teams will face off twice this year as the league has gone back to the home and away schedule for 2013.

Friday night's contest started out in positive fashion for the Fortuna Huskies. Eureka had the first offensive possession of the evening and had negative yardage to show for it. Early on, the Eureka offense sputtered while the Fortuna defense shined. The Huskies then took their first offensive series and went right to work. A 31-yard burst by Husky running back Gavin Lewis was the big blow that took the ball into Logger territory for the first threat of the ball game. However, the drive sputtered when the Loggers held the Huskies on a fourth down attempt that came up just short. Fortuna was already playing the game a couple of key players short, as seniors Josh Jorgensen and Patrick Daly were not available. It certainly did not help the effort that sophomore Robbie Yates went down to injury midway through the first quarter of Friday night's game.

It was on the Loggers' second drive of the evening that lightning struck in the form of a touchdown pass from Eureka quarterback Alexis Robinson to receiver Marcus Finney that covered 67 yards. Just like that the Loggers jumped to a 7-0 lead. On their next possession the Loggers combined the run and pass effectively to march down to another score, this time QB Robinson outran the pursuit to the corner of the end zone for a 8-yard touchdown. Matt Thompson booted his second PAT of the night and at the 3:03 mark of the first period, Eureka leapt to a 14-0 lead. Fortuna's offense stalled for the second straight possession but the Huskies caught a break when Eureka fumbled the ball in their own backfield and Husky Josh Simmons recovered.

It was off that turnover that the Huskies came back to life, a six-play drive covering 71 yards took Fortuna to pay dirt. Fortuna quarterback Jacob Hough hooked up with receiver Zach Hugh for a big pass play that moved the ball deep into Eureka territory. Gavin Lewis then did the honors rushing the final 8 yards to the touchdown. Though the PAT was blocked by Eureka's Marcus Finney, the Huskies were back in the game. Eureka quarterback Alexis Robinson made several impressive plays on the evening but none more impressive than his 25-yard burst up the middle of the Fortuna defense that put the Loggers up once again by two touchdowns.

The Fortuna Huskies showed much fight as they closed out the second quarter with their longest possession of the game marching down to the Logger 1 yard line. However, successive penalties backed up the Huskies away from their intended target and the Logger defense did the rest with a fourth down defensive stand. Eureka held a 21-6 lead at the half.

After the two teams exchanged possessions to start the third quarter, Eureka struck again as quarterback Alexis Robinson then exploded downfield on his way to a 55 yard touchdown run. It became very apparent that Robinson's stellar track season, that saw him sprint to the California state level and on to the Pan-Am Games for the U.S. National Track Team has made him a more dangerous football player as well. The Loggers jumped to a 28-6 lead as a result. A muffed punt attempt by the Huskies didn't help as Eureka's Jake Gordon tackled punter Ryan Weigman in the end zone, score reads 30-6.

Fortuna did not give up the effort and went on the score twice in the final quarter. Driving 68 yards in 13 plays, the Huskies cashed in with quarterback Jacob Hough's 1-yard keeper. Later backup running back Josiah Hughes sprinted 49 yards to a touchdown with less than a minute to play. Final score read 30-20. All is not lost for the Fortuna Huskies as they move forward. This Friday night, they face the Arcata Tigers who have been crushed on back to back weekends to start the season. The contest will give Fortuna the opportunity to regain some momentum and heal up some very important injured players.

The Fortuna Huskies junior varsity football team gained an exciting victory over the Eureka Loggers last Friday evening. The Huskies have not beaten the Loggers in several years despite fielding some very good teams over that span. The Huskies went to the air to score in the first half of their contest at Albee Stadium. Husky quarterback Ben Flackus connected with receiver Isaac Drake with a 25-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Eureka countered with a 3-yard rushing touchdown by Bradley Maples. Fortuna QB Flackus followed with a TD pass to wideout Jared Hugh for a touchdown with just :26 left in the first half.

Things got a little wild in the second half as multiple turnovers by both teams left the outcome in doubt. Eureka's Michael Hearns recovered a Husky fumble, then Fortuna's Dante Viggers followed with an interception. Husky Dylan Kepon recovered a Logger fumble and later Isaac Drake napped an interception. The final nails in the coffin were Dante Viggers interception and subsequent 35 yard return for a touchdown followed by a QB sack by David Reed and his fellow Huskies on the Eureka quarterback. Final score read 20-6.

"It's been better than the six years I've been here with the JV program since we beat the Eureka Loggers," said victorious coach Adam Pinkerton after the game -- this after the junior varsity opened their season with a 32-0 beat down of Healdsburg.

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

Fortuna Husky runningback Gavin Lewis (center) breaks into the open field and is off to the races as Eureka's Marcus Finney (left) and the Logger defense give chase. Lewis gained 31 yards on the play and the Huskies had many positives to take away from the Friday night game, but came up short on the scoreboard to the Loggers, 30-20.