By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa Warriors are taking full advantage of an extra weekend before the football playoffs, adding a home game against California School for the Deaf to fill the gap in their schedule.
On Wednesday, the North Coast Section announced it will be pushing back the opening weekend of the playoffs for one week because of the Kincaid Fire and recent power outages affecting several teams, and the Warriors have used that opportunity to add a 10th allotted game.
Hoopa can do that after having an earlier game at Fort Bragg canceled due to the number of injuries the team was facing that week.
“We needed to fill our schedule and they needed to fill their schedule,” Hoopa head coach Sonny Ryles said.
Hoopa became eligible for the Division-7 playoffs with a 32-21 victory over McKinleyville two weeks ago.
A loss to California School for the Deaf, however, could take away the Warriors playoff eligibility, whereas a win would solidify their playoff status, which remains uncertain at this stage.
The game against the Fremont school is scheduled for Saturday of next weekend at 1 p.m.
The Eagles are 5-3 and the No. 12-ranked Division-7 team in the NCS, according to MaxPreps, three spots behind the No. 9 Warriors.
The Warriors, who also host Arcata on Friday night, are 3-5 overall and 2-3 in league play.
To qualify for the postseason, a team must be at least .500 overall or in league play or against same-division opponents.
The Warriors are currently 2-2 against Division-7 opponents, and a win in either of their final two games will not only make them playoff eligible but should guarantee a postseason berth.
“I firmly believe in our kids, and that we can win out with the talent and kids we have,” Ryles said. “I’m very optimistic we can win out and be 5-5 and head into the playoffs with some momentum.”