Ferndale and Fortuna are among the Humboldt-Del Norte football teams that found themselves in a race for a section title when the North Coast Section released its playoff bracket on Nov. 10.
Little 4 co-champs Ferndale earned an automatic berth and, by virtue of their title, also received home field advantage.
Fortuna also earned the opportunity to start the road toward a championship in county.
A look at selected upcoming NCS Playoffs:
(2) Fortuna First-round bye
Earning the highest seed of any H-DN team in NCS play, the Huskies (8-2 overall) await the winner of Saturday's Moreau Catholic-Piedmont contest. The victor heads to the North Coast to face the Huskies in the Friendly City Fri., Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.
(6) Calistoga at (3) Ferndale
The host Wildcats (7-3) meet the visiting Wildcats (8-1) and you can expect a ground-and-pound assault in this contest Saturday afternoon (1 p.m.) contest.
Calistoga -- who beat South Fork in preseason play -- average 302 yards per game rushing. The ground assault is led by Dylan Alvarado (1,842 yards, 23 TDs on 177 carries).
Ferndale -- getting healthy at the right time -- is powered by Kyle Chambers (313 yards and 5 TDs rushing in the team's final two games of the regular season).
-- Ray Aspuria
MIRANDA -- Behind another huge game from senior running back Kyle Chambers, Ferndale clinched at least a share of its 15th straight Little 4 title with a 49-23 victory over South Fork in the regular season finale on Nov. 8.
Chambers, who started the 2013 season as the Cats' quarterback, finished with 217 yards on the ground on 22 carries, leading an offense that racked up 370 yards rushing. He also recorded two of the Wildcats' four interceptions on defense.
With the victory, Ferndale finishes the regular season with a 5-1 record in the Little 4 -- a half-game ahead of St. Bernard's -- and 7-3 overall.
South Fork's speedy junior wideout Troy Langley caught the ball at his own 11on the opening kickoff, worked his way up the Ferndale sideline, and then broke loose for an 89-yard return.
But Ferndale was right there to answer, quickly driving down the field, as Chambers capped off the drive with the first of his three touchdown runs in the game, this one from six yards out.
After Langley hit a 23-yard field to give the Cubs a 10-7 advantage, the Cats drove again, and Chambers found paydirt from 34 yards out with 45 seconds to go in the first quarter to give Ferndale the lead that it never relinquished.
Ferndale made it an 11-point game 3:23 before half-time when sophomore quarterback Brad Martin connected with wideout Chas Richardson on a 20-yard strike to the left corner of the end zone. Come the third quarter, there was no looking back for Jorgensen's Wildcats.
Martin's second TD pass -- a 34-yard bomb to Wyatt Standley -- was sandwiched between rushing touchdowns from Chambers and Cody Allen, giving the Cats plenty of breathing room.
Allen carried the ball eight times for 58 yards, while Zach Rocha -- who scored the Wildcats' final rushing TD of the game early in the fourth quarter -- recorded 89 yards on 10 carries.
To go along with Chambers' two picks, Martin and Allen both had second-half interceptions. Townsend and Tim Zanone combined for the Wildcats' lone sack of the game.
-- Danny Penza
Nov. 9: Fortuna tops McKinleyville in Big 5 finale
McKINLEYVILLE -- Visiting Fortuna defeated host McKinleyville 53-18 in the Big 5 regular season finale. On Nov. 8, it was Brett Renner, Zach Hugh, Major Plain, Jacob Hough and Robbie Yates getting the job done for the Huskies.
Renner, a reliable performer all season, helped stake the Huskies to a 14-0 lead with 26- and 4-yard touchdown runs. He finished with 122 yards on only seven carries.
Hugh ignited Fortuna's 27-point second quarter with a 52-yard pick-six, then caught a 20-yard TD pass in traffic in the end zone only two seconds before halftime. He later ran for a 13-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Plain had a spectacular 70-yard pick-six in the third quarter, cutting back against the grain to evade three Panthers, and caught three balls for almost 60 yards, one an acrobatic one-hand grab in the red zone.
Hough threw two TD passes, the second to Yates who caught the ball while falling on his back in the end zone.
With the victory, Fortuna finished the regular season 6-2 in the Big 5 and 8-2 overall.
-- Neil Tarpey
Nov. 7: Huskies defeat Terra Linda in double OT in NCS soccer playoffs
FORTUNA -- Headed over the crossbar. Drilled wide to the left. Hooking just past the right post. Knocked away by the flying goalkeeper.
Fortuna's Frankie Calderon had narrowly missed a variety of shots that looked like sure goals, but he was hoping to get one more chance.
That opportunity came four minutes into double overtime, when, unmarked near the far post, the Husky junior took Chico Cortez's crossing pass, momentarily stopped the ball, and then calmly booted it into the net.
Calderon's goal propelled No. 12 seed Fortuna to a 2-1 victory over No. 5 seed Terra Linda in the North Coast Section Division I boys soccer playoffs on Nov. 6.
-- Neil Tarpey
Nov. 7: Gomes leads the way in Ferndale's 4-1 win over Fort Bragg
Emma Gomes continued her regular-season scoring form, recording a pair of goals in Ferndale's 4-1 win over Fort Bragg in the opening round of the North Coast Section Division 3 girls soccer playoffs on Nov. 6.
Gomes opened the scoring midway through the first half and scored Ferndale's final goal of the game. Taryn DeMille and Kendra Losa also had goals for the Wildcats in the victory.
-- The Times-Standard