EUREKA — The Humboldt Highs Cubs were playing in full-form Friday night against the Eureka Tornadoes, in a win that gives their district championship hopes a substantial boost.
The Cubs came out on top in Eureka, 34-20, following up a close first half with an explosive second.
“I was really proud of our kids,” Head Coach K.B. Criss said. “Fighting back after a couple of big losses and getting the win on the road.”
Jacob Carpenter capped a Humboldt drive to open the scoring in the contest, with an 11-yard rush to the end zone — Caleb Vanatta’s 3-yard rush for the point after was good.
Following a Tornado score to cut the lead to 8-6, Hunter Murrow picked off Eureka for a 47-yard touchdown to start the second quarter.
Eureka’s Colton Pitko hit DeAllen Nelson for a 68-yard touchdown pass to cut Humboldt’s lead to 16-12 going into the half.
Another “tone-setting” play from Vanatta to start the second half gave the Cubs the boost they needed. He returned the opening kickoff 84-yards for a Cub touchdown.
“I thought Hunter’s pick six was a huge play in the first half and Caleb’s kickoff return to start the second half gave us the momentum and set the tone,” Criss said.
Despite another fruitful drive for the Tornadoes, an 25-yard Alex Murrow touchdown pass to Justin Meins at the end of the third, coupled with a 55-yard Vanatta rushing touchdown in the fourth, put the win in the books for the Cubs.
Vanatta led in rushing with 16 carries for 136 yards, followed by Carpenter with nine carries for 32 yards. From the air, Alex Murrow completed seven passes on 12 attempts for 85 yards. Meins had three receptions for 55 yards, and Hunter Murrow had three receptions for 27 yards.
According to Criss, the Cubs’ defense had a “bend, but not break” strategy for the evening. They allowed 318 yards of offense from the Tornadoes, but snuffed out several drives.
Zach Osborn led the Cubs in solo tackles with 10, followed by Carpenter with seven and Hunter Murrow with six. The Cubs picked off the Tornadoes four times as well. Hunter Murrow had two, Carpenter and Meins had one apiece.
The Cubs travel to Fredonia in another key district matchup Friday. Their league record stands at 1-0.
First downs 7 8
Rushing 32/157 28/114
Passing-yds 85 204
Total Offense 242 318
Passing 7-12 17-40
Fumbles 2 1
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