Three H-DNL teams got their first wins of the season on Friday night.
Fortuna rushed for 423 yards on the way to a 29-14 win at Kelseyville, while the McKinleyville Panthers got some outstanding play from their defensive line on the way to a 21-15 win over Fort Bragg at the Redwood Bowl.
Also winning for the first time this season, Ferndale showed plenty of heart late in the game in a 36-14 victory at Fall River.
Also in action on Friday night, Hoopa fell 32-14 at Etna and dropped to 0-2, while Eureka fell 14-10 at Foothill in another close matchup.
Del Norte was also in action, with the Warriors improving to 3-0 with another big win.
Del Norte 42, La Salle 7
The Del Norte Warriors avoided a turnover for the third straight week as they ran out to another comprehensive win on Friday night, their third straight victory to begin the season.
The Warriors again ran the ball well, with three different players either rushing for 100 yards or coming close, led by Chase Blackburn who finished with 145 yards on 14 carries.
Even more impressive was the play of the defensive line, as the Warriors shut down the visitors’ ground attack.
“We ran the ball really well, we had three 100-yard rushers, and we took our spots,” Del Norte head coach Nick White said. “And we stopped the run great. That was the key on defense. We stopped the run and made them pass the ball.”
Levi Cox Cooley finished with 97 yards on 12 carries, continuing his impressive start to the season.
Senior quarterback OJ Calleja completed four of seven passes for 74 yards.
“He has been really efficient with his throws,” White said of Calleja. “He’s running the system great.”
Ferndale 36, Fall River 14
The Wildcats showed a lot of improvement in a lot of areas in their second game, running out to an impressive win at Fall River.
They also showed character, responding when they needed it the most, late in the game after the home team had begun to rally.
“We responded in the fourth quarter with some good old fashioned ground and pound,” head coach Clint McClurg said. “The heart they showed in the fourth quarter, that was the difference.”
Landon Gomes had a rushing and receiving touchdown, while DJ Albee and Lane Branstetter each also ran in for a score.
Tristen Martin added a TD reception, while quarterback Jenner Christiansen ran in for a two-point conversion to go with his touchdown passes.
Colson Renner added four PATs.
Along the lines, Orion Benton and Dominic Regli each stepped up huge to set the tempo for the Cats.
With some injuries this week along the offensive line, senior Haven Harrington was handed a start at guard and didn’t disappoint with a strong performance.
Nico Alejandre also has been playing “with a sense of urgency,” according to his coach and played a pivotal role in the win.
The head coach also praised the play of Albee on defense, as well as linebacker Tanner Zanone.
Ferndale improved to 1-1 with the win.
Fortuna 29, Kelseyville 14
The Fortuna Huskies rushed for 423 yards and four touchdowns on the way to their first win of the season in Lake County on Friday night.
Several players put up big numbers on the ground, none more so than Levi Nyberg who ran for 190 yards and three of his team’s TDs.
Daeden Taylor also scored a TD, carrying the ball five times for 51 yards.
Kobe Letter continued his impressive start to the season with 96 yards on 12 carries, while Max Hough added 61 yards on seven carries.
The Huskies (1-2) will host Ferndale next weekend in the annual Milk Can game.
The Fortuna JVs fell to 1-2 with a 14-0 loss.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.