By MICHAEL SHAPIRO
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
After an unexpected run to the NCL I championship and a shutout victory in its first playoff game, Fort Bragg’s season came to an end Saturday night with a 26-7 loss to Arcata at Humboldt State.
Arcata led 7-6 after running back Zack Smith found the end zone, but the game’s turning point came in the final two minutes of the first half.
Fort Bragg fumbled a punt deep in its own territory. Arcata recovered near the Timberwolves’ 10-yard-line and scored a touchdown. The Timberwolves found themselves trailing 12-7 at the half.
“It was a very good season,” said coach Roy Perkins. “But even when you win the league championship, it still hurts when you lose the last game.”
Arcata broke a long run on the third play of the second half and converted a two-point conversion to go up 20-7.
Perkins praised the gutsy play of Smith, who gained 125 yards, but said the size of the Arcata defense was too much to overcome.
“They did a good job of containing him,” Perkins said.
After the game the coach told his players they have “nothing to hang their heads about.”
Perkins, who stepped in to coach Fort Bragg just three days before the season began, told his players to “keep their heads up and be proud” after the team “accomplished more than anyone” expected.
Despite the sting of losing the final game, Perkins could see the big picture.
“It was a great season,” he said.