By Ray Hamill — The news just keeps getting better for the Eureka Loggers.
After having to endure a coin flip to decide their future early on Sunday morning, the Loggers have been informed they will now host next weekend’s CIF state regional game, as well as a possible state championship the following week if they qualify.
Eureka will host Menlo-Atherton in the NorCal game, with the winner advancing to play Lincoln (San Diego) for the 3AA state championship.
Eureka head coach Jason White watched the coin toss live on Facebook, and afterwards was obviously delighted.
“It was like opening presents on Christmas morning and getting something you weren’t expecting,” the coach said.
It means at least one more home game at Albee Stadium — the team’s ninth at home this year — and a chance to play for a first-ever state championship.
“Everyone’s ecstatic that this is happening,” White said. “Even more excited to be playing at home.”
The players, naturally, were also delighted with the news after being informed via group text after the coin flip, and will now get the chance to play out their careers on the field.
The news comes just hours after Eureka defeated Las Lomas 21-0 in a North Coast Section semifinal showdown at Albee Stadium on Saturday night.
“We all thought that last night was our last home game, and that’s not the case,” White said.
Eureka assistant coach Leon Chalmers was at the NCS offices for the coin toss, along with section commissioner Gil Lemmon and a representative from the Press Democrat.
Saturday’s win should have qualified the Loggers for an NCS championship game against Cardinal Newman.
With the recent delays in the scheduling caused by the wildfires throughout the state, however, the NCS forced the schools to decide whether they wanted to play out the section championship and forfeit a chance to go on to play for a state title, or to allow a coin flip to decide which team moves on instead, with no NCS champion crowned.
The Loggers were adamant all along they wished to keep going in the NCS and play the season out to its conclusion on the field of competition.
The Cardinal Newman players, however, voted to forfeit the NCS and take their chances on the coin flip.
The Cardinals’ season ends with the coin flip.
Eureka now will move on to possibly play for the state title, having previously won three section titles in 1929, 2003 and 2009.
If they succeed, it would be a second straight state championship for the area after Fortuna clinched the 5-A championship a year ago.
Interesting, Fortuna, which defeated Del Norte in the NCS Division-IV semifinals, will now play for a section crown against Moreau Catholic next weekend, while forfeiting a chance to defend the state title.
The NCS has been heavily criticized for forcing schools to make the choice.
The Loggers are 12-0 this season, having won all but one of their games by 21 or more points.
Menlo-Atherton will come into the game with some momentum after the Bears stunned top seed Wilcox 33-28 to win the Central Coast Section Open Division I championship on Friday night.
And they rallied from a 21-point deficit to do so.
It was their second CCS Open I crown in three years.
They are 12-2 on the season.