Alumni players getting back in the groove ahead of Saturday showdown


Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Longtime McKinleyville youth football coach Dale Cash, pictured third from left, will coach the McKinleyville alumni football team in this weekend’s showdown with Arcata.

By Ray Hamill — Two local football rivals will go head to head while reliving old times this weekend at the McKinleyville/Arcata alumni football game.

The showdown, which has become an annual tradition again, will take place at McKinleyville High on Saturday at 1 p.m.

The game is played as a fundraiser for the Panthers program, but has evolved into far more than that, with bragging rights on the line.

Arcata has won the past two years to pull into a 5-5 all-time tie in the showdown, with McKinleyville eager to get some revenge this weekend.


The Arcata alumni at practice on Wednesday night.

For the two weeks leading up to the game, both rosters have been busy practicing and shaking off the cobwebs.

“It’s been going good,” said McKinleyville High head coach Keoki Burbank, who organizes the event. “The guys are knocking off a little rust and getting ready.”

As of Wednesday, McKinleyville has 27 players on the roster, while Arcata has 22, more than enough for both to field a team, although Burbank is hoping for a few more.

“We’d love to be at 30 on both rosters,” he said.


The McKinleyville alumni at practice on Wednesday night.

Any players interested in signing up for the game can still do by emailing Burbank at

The legendary Dale Cash will coach the McKinleyville team, reuniting with some of the players he guided through the youth football ranks.

“All the McKinleyville players have played for Dale Cash at one point, and they all love to come back to play for him again,” Burbank said.

Current McKinleyville offensive line coach Nikander Jonte, who played at Arcata High, will coach the Tigers.


The Arcata players enjoy a laugh during practice.

“We’re just excited for people to come out and get to see the old guys suit up again,” Burbank said.

For more information on the game, you can also visit the game’s Facebook page.

More on the weekend alumni game later in the week.

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