By Ray Hamill — The North Coast Section has been offered yet another alternative to overcome the backlog of playoff games and avoid a coin toss deciding who moves on from the section to the CIF regional games.
But the section decision makers have once again declined the option, and appear fully resigned to not getting the games played on time.
On Friday, section commissioner Gil Lemmon attempted to move 13 quarterfinal games to Humboldt County for Monday in order to remain on schedule and avoid having to utilize a tiebreaker system in the championship round.
But with no financial backing available from the NCS, many of the Bay Area teams said they would not travel to play, and a decision was made to officially postpone all the games until next weekend.
However, a group of local boosters have responded by raising enough funds to make the travel possible for at least some of those teams, but as of Saturday afternoon, the NCS decision remains in place.
“We want it to be known they are turning away money to make this happen,” Eureka High Athletic Director Kristie Christiansen said.
According to Christiansen, the Eureka High boosters raised $8,000 after Friday’s announcement, with commitments to double that amount if the NCS reverses its decision.
And that would be enough to at least transport the Division-III teams to Eureka in order to keep that bracket on schedule.
“We could play the games on Tuesday, and turn around and play the next games on the following Monday,” Christiansen said. “We’d rather play than have it come down to (a coin toss).”
Earlier this week, St. Bernard’s also offered to pay for the use of Humboldt State’s Redwood Bowl to be used for games.
Many local fans were left frustrated by Friday’s decision, which affects four of the five local teams still involved and could see as many as two of them end their season with an NCS win and not advance because of the luck of a coin flip.
The scheduling problems have been caused by the ongoing wildfires and the resultant poor air quality in the Bay Area.
The problems were not helped by the NCS dragging its feet and not making a decision on moving the games until Friday. The Central Coastal Section made a decision earlier in the week to move its games to playable areas.
Many of the NCS coaches affected suggested the late hour did not help matters.
On Saturday, the NCS was sticking to the decision to postpone despite the alternatives presented.
“I’m just disappointed that they said ‘that’s it,’” Christiansen said.
The only other remaining hope for the teams affected by the decision is if the CIF opts to push back the state championships further to the weekend of Dec. 22, which would allow the NCS time to play the section championship games affected.
Earlier this week, the CIF voted to push back the state games one week and it appears unlikely it would do so again.