By Ray Hamill — If they haven’t already done so, it’s time for the North Coast Section to seriously consider moving this weekend’s playoff games to Humboldt County.
On Thursday morning, the Central Coastal Section ratified its decision to move all of its weekend’s football playoff games to playable areas further south and will hold five triple-headers to accommodate everyone and make sure they get their games in.
The NCS executive committee also met again on Thursday morning, although there was no word on whether they had reached any new decisions.
On Wednesday, they voted 5-2 to utilize a coin flip as a last option to send teams on to the regional games if they run out of time to play the section championship games.
With just three weeks before the state regional games, if the poor air quality continues through this weekend as expected there will be no more time for make-up dates for any of the section divisions still playing quarterfinals.
If that happens and the NCS is unable to play their championship games in Divisions II, III, IV and V, which includes four of the five local teams still involved, it would go to a tiebreaker to decide instead which teams advance to the regional games.
The first tiebreaker would be head-to-head record this year, and the second a coin flip.
Naturally, the decision was heavily criticized on social media, and rightfully so.
You simply can’t have a coin toss decide something that so many people have dedicated so many years of their lives to in some cases.
It’s not just unfair, it’s cruel. In Eureka’s case, for example, this is a once-in-generation group of players making their final stand after 10 years coming through the ranks together, and for that to come down to the luck of a coin flip is unacceptable.
There has to be an alternative, and fortunately one surfaced on Thursday.
Time to move the games
After Wednesday’s vote NCS commissioner said that the NCS was unable to move its games like the CCS was going to do because the only area within the NCS that was playable was Hoopa Valley.
In fairness to the NCS, the air quality throughout most of Humboldt County plummeted on Wednesday, and trying to arrange 18 playoff games in the Hoopa Valley would not be realistic.
On Thursday, however, the air quality throughout the North Coast improved again substantially and is well within playable levels.
That again opens up several usable locations from Fort Bragg or Miranda to McKinleyville and everywhere in between, including the Redwood Bowl.
St. Bernard’s has already offered to pay for the use of the Redwood Bowl in order to get their scheduled game against San Marin played.
There is now simply no reason not to play the games, and with the number of playable options open, no team would have to travel more than four hours, which is not unreasonable.
Not when the alternative to deciding the most important game of your prep career is a coin flip.