By Ray Hamill — It might be Thanksgiving, but that didn’t stop all three local teams still alive in the NCS playoffs from practicing.
All three — Del Norte, St. Bernard’s and Ferndale — hit the fields this morning, as they continue to put together the final preparations for Saturday night’s big championship showdowns in the Bay Area.
“We’re thankful we’re here,” Ferndale head coach Clint McClurg said. “What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, with football.”
The Cats will play Salesian in the Division-7 decider at Alhambra High School, while St. Bernard’s will play Kennedy in the Division-6 championship at Benicia High, and Del Norte will play Encinal at in the D-5 decider at Hayward High.
All three H-DNL teams are No. 2 seeds, and all three will be playing No. 1 seeds in their own backyard.
But then again travel has never been much of a problem for teams on the North Coast who are well used to it.
Both Del Norte and St. Bernard’s will travel down on Friday, spending the night before the game nearby,
Ferndale, on the other hand, will travel down early on game day, a formula McClurg said worked out well for his team on a trip to Fall River earlier in the season.
All three teams can also expect a large contingent of traveling fans, something H-DNL teams are well known for.
And all three head coaches say they have received tremendous support this week.
“We have a lot of community support,” Del Norte head coach Nick White said. “I’m hearing from people that everybody’s rooting for us, the whole community is definitely involved.”
St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin echoed the sentiment.
“We have a great support system,” he said. “Our parents, the school administrators, everybody that works at St. Bernard’s, the alumni, there are so many.”
Many of them will be on hand for Saturday’s big game as the Crusaders look to win a first section crown since 2015.
The Ferndale Wildcats will be looking for their first title in seven years, and the community has has also been showing its support in town all week.
The Del Norte fans will be making their first ever trip to an NCS championship game, and the players and fans are getting excited.
“They’re pumped,” White said of his players. “They’re ready to go and we’re excited about our road trip.
“The kids are really excited. They know they have opportunity to finish this of, and they all want to go get it.”