By Ray Hamill — While teams like Western Sierra refuse to make the trip to Humboldt County to play a game for whatever reason they have this week, it’s business as usual for the Hoopa Valley boys who open the NorCals on Tuesday night with their 26th road game of the season.
The Hoopa players will play at Pierce in the Division-V bracket, after barely missing out on a home game when they were handed the No. 9 seed.
The No. 8 Bears are a Division-IV school out of Arbuckle, and have a record of 21-5.
“We’re just going to try and play our game and try to get our offense going,” Hoopa head coach Tyler Mitchell said. “And play tough man defense.”
The game is one of four featuring local teams on Tuesday night, and is scheduled for 7 p.m.
And the head coach is expecting plenty of Hoopa fans to make the four-hour trip for the program’s first NorCal appearance in 15 years, with the school organizing a rooter bus.
“Our fans should be there, which is great,” Mitchell said.
The Warriors come into the game with a record of 21-8 and should be well rested coming off a six-day break since their last game against Stuart Hall in the NCS.
For comparison, Hoopa is ranked No. 488 in the state by MaxPreps, while Pierce is No. 430.
And Mitchell will be looking for a balanced team performance.
“It’s got to be a well-rounded effort,” the coach said. “They’re probably going to key in on George (Navarro), and players like Wade Nixon, John Smith, Sonny Jarnaghan and Dennis Young, and other players, have all got to step up.
“It’s important for our players to be focused the entire game.”
Mitchell said his players have been enjoying the build-up and are looking forward to the challenge.
“You’ve got to relish moments like this,” he said. “And just go out and put your best foot forward.”
If they win, the Warriors will likely have to face No. 1 seed Mt. Shasta on Thursday, and will remain in the area instead of traveling home.