Del Norte

Local playoff teams use stormy weather to their advantage

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Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – St. Bernard’s Grant Omey

By Ray Hamill — Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a wild one.

The weather is expected to play a part in all three of Saturday night’s NCS football championship games featuring local teams.

And all three of them have been busy preparing for that, in their own ways.

“It poses a challenge,” said St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin who is expecting rain, wind and cold temperatures for his team’s showdown against Kennedy at Benicia High School. “But I’ve never been one to make excuses with a wet football. We’re preparing for the situation.”

Del Norte, which plays Encinal at Hayward High School, and Ferndale, which plays Salesian at Alhambra, are expecting to face similar conditions, as will all three of this weekend’s opponents.

The H-DNL teams used the stormy conditions on Tuesday to prepare, and all of them were glad of the opportunity.

“It was tough, but it’s football,” Ferndale head coach Clint McClurg said. “What a great opportunity that was.”

The Warriors went a step further in their preparation, putting the ball in a bucket of water and putting the players’ hands in water before plays.

And it appears to be working.

“We’ve had some really good practices this week,” Del Norte head coach Nick White said. “The kids are excited. The practices have been upbeat and fun, but they’re doing what they need to do.”

The Crusaders too are coming off a productive few days of practice ahead of their big showdown.

“The last two days the kids were so focused,” Tomlin said. “They were two of our best practices of the year.”

Likewise with the Wildcats, who have had some productive practices this week in spite of the weather.

“I just think that there’s a level of mental focus with these guys that continues to impress,” McClurg said of his players.

All three of Saturday’s games are scheduled for 7 p.m.

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