By Ray Hamill — The St. Bernard’s players aren’t worried about who belongs in what conference as they get set for Saturday’s showdown with Arcata. They’re just concerned with trying to win another football game.
The Crusaders have impressed through the opening two weeks of the season, rolling to relatively easy road wins at El Molino and Hoopa.
On Saturday they’ll play a rare game at Crusader Field, with five of their opening six games this season on the road.
The game, however, has taken on added significance.
Before last season St. Bernard’s was moved up to the Big 4 after dominating the Little 4 for years, while Arcata dropped down to the Little 4.
Tigers head coach Jamal Jones is adamant they want to play with the bigger programs again, and says his players have been eying Saturday’s showdown as a chance to prove they belong back in the Big 4.
Some St. Bernard’s fans have also been critical of the switch, which sees the smallest school in the H-DNL in terms of enrollment playing against three of the largest.
None of that, however, appears to be bothering any of the St. Bernard’s players, who are just looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd and approach every game the same way no matter who the opposition is.
“My guys just want to play the best teams we can,” head coach Matt Tomlin said.
Tomlin added that the Tigers had the chance to stay in the Big 4 but that both the school’s principal and Athletic Director opted instead for the switch.
Jones says he has pleaded with Arcata AD Troy Ghisetti to get the Tigers back into the Big 4, where he feels a program the size of Arcata’s belongs.
And the coach and his players have had this Saturday’s game circled on their calendar as a way to back that belief.
“They could have been in the Big 4,” Tomlin said. “It’s easy to say that now to fire up a team for a football game, but it’s false motivation.”
Last season the Crusaders cruised to a 47-14 win over the Tigers.
They have won 29 straight games against Little 4 opposition.
Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m.