By Ray Hamill — The Eureka Loggers have been adamant for the past two weeks that if it comes down to a choice between playing for a North Coast Section football championship or resorting to a coin flip to decide who moves on to play for a regional or potential state championship, they would choose the former.
That choice, however, may be out of their hands.
On Thursday, according to sources, the four teams in each of the four divisions affected were asked by the NCS whether they would want to play for a section crown and forfeit a possible CIF berth, or go to a tiebreaker to see who advances instead.
The choice has been forced on the teams after the scheduling delays caused by the recent wildfires and resulting poor air quality throughout much of the section.
In Divisions II and IV, all four teams reportedly have unanimously voted to play for the NCS championship, but in Divisions III and V, the vote was not unanimous, meaning at least one team in each is considering the tiebreaker.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to only the two teams who advance past this weekend’s semifinals in each division.
For Fortuna and Del Norte, who meet in Saturday’s Division-IV semifinal in Crescent City, it means the winner now appears to be guaranteed to play for an NCS championship next week.
The Huskies, however, will not get the chance to defend their 5-A state title.
For the Loggers, meanwhile, even if they advance to the Division-III championship game, that choice may now be out of their hands.
The Division-III semifinals feature No. 1 seed Cardinal Newman hosting No. 4 El Cerrito on Friday, and No. 2 Eureka hosting No. 3 Las Lomas at Albee Stadium on Saturday night.
No word on whether Cardinal Newman would opt to play for an NCS title or choose the coin flip, should the Cardinals advance as expected.