St. Bernard’s football to remain in the Big 4 for two more years


Ray Hamill/ – The Crusaders will compete in the Big 4 for two more years.

By Ray Hamill — Many St. Bernard’s fans might not like to hear it, but the H-DNL has voted to keep the Crusaders football team in the Big 4 for the next two seasons.

The decision was approved by an 8-1 vote at last month’s league meeting, with one vote for each school, and it was announced on Thursday night.

The criteria for this decision, according to the league, is to keep both the Big 4 and Little 4 as viable NCS conferences and is based on competitive equity.

Without the recent realignment, the Little 4 would have just three teams and would not qualify for an automatic NCS playoff berth, as is the case for leagues with less than four teams.

Previously South Fork had competed in the Little 4 in football, but dropped down to eight-person football three years ago, leaving the smaller school conference with just three teams in 2017.

Two years ago, the H-DNL moved Arcata and McKinleyville from the Big 5 to the Little 4 and moved St. Bernard’s from the Little 4 to what is now the Big 4, giving each conference four teams.

According to the league, “The process approved by the HDNL was based on the NCS competitive equity divisions for football and the NCS competitive equity points earned during the NCS playoffs.”

The re-alignment will be re-addressed every two years.

In addition to St. Bernard’s, a Division-6 program, the Big 4 includes three Division-5 schools, Eureka, Del Norte and Fortuna.

The Little 4 includes three Division-7 teams — Ferndale, Hoopa and McKinleyville — and one Division-6 team, Arcata.

According to the H-DNL, St. Bernard’s has 21 competitive equity points, while Arcata has just one.

The Crusaders have certainly dominated the smaller schools conference in recent years and have not lost to a Little 4 team since 2013, a winning streak that is now 30 straight games.

This past season, they swept three lopsided games from Little 4 opposition by a combined score of 135-49.

In two years competing against the bigger schools in the Big 4, the Crusaders are 2-4, going on to win a state championship after a 1-2 league campaign this year.

St. Bernard’s fans, however, believe it is unfair that a school with an enrollment of around 150 students should have to compete in conference against schools with close to or more than 1,000 students, as is the case with the other three Big 4 teams.

This year’s SB football roster had 27 players, although the program did not field a JV team and realistically had less than 20 varsity players on hand.

According to MaxPreps, Eureka had a roster of 34 varsity players, Fortuna 30 and Del Norte 26, and all three feature JV teams as well.

7 replies »

  1. Complete and absolute nonsense, pitting SB against teams up to 10 times their size because they have a good team this year and some previous years. All this is cyclical, teams have groups passing through and thats the way it has been for decades.

    Further, SB has concentrated on building a successful football program and it shows. Good for them, they have risen to the challenge in the Little 4 and been successful lately. When going to school and competing in football in the past Ferndale dominated the Little 4 and won I believe the Little 4 for up to 10 years in a row, never was required to switch leagues.

    Some say the SB should rise to the challenge in the Big 4, I say the other teams in the Little 4 need to rise to the challenge, why punish SB for being successful in a league they are correctly classified, by placing them in a league they are clearly not correctly classified.

    League is based on school size (enrollment) not record, end of story. If league was based on record, the U Conn womens basketball team would be forced to play in the WNBA, and the Alabama football team would be required to play in the NFL.

    No JV, less than 20 varsity players, 150 kids in the school. This is not sustainable, not equitable, and not fair to athletes.

    The HDNL did a big disservice to both leagues, Krista Christiansen and Jack Lakin, 2 of the 3 Board of Directors of the HDNL (Christiansen from Ferndale and Lakin with strong ties to both Eureka and Ferndale) this is stinky, biased, and unfair to the SB student athletes looking to earn a league title in football.

    Christiansen has a son that plays on Ferndale team. You should be very ashamed.

    • What team’s are 10 times SB’s size… curious George wants to understand…

      Playoffs match up schools based on “enrollment of students”… doubt players at St. B give a hoot regarding which REGULAR SEASON league they are in…now, if the school was losing games left and right, then a different take maybe…cuz a HDNL league title is so cool…not…it is about playoffs…

      Reassessing league schools every 2 years is reflective of how Humboldt County has deteriorated over the years, look at South Fork…that high school has gone to crud with enrollment stats…Arcata High with it’s liberal loonies, McKinleyville with it’s connection to the liberal loonies, etc…social politics by druids is intent on sabotaging football, like HSU…sports is politics too…

      Blame it on the county’s drug culture folks, they ruin so much, it is a shame…athletic types move away, don’t want wasted opportunities at schools that underperform and communities that are high on drugs, thus pushing out “clean families” who breed athletes and not drug pushers…

      …and why is league controlled by old farts who are hack artists? A monopoly game for sure…

      Bill – how about all public schools in one league, parochial schools in another…that way St. B can win league every season, but not get an auto invite as a one team league champ…lol…

      Players just want to play…

      • At no point does this word salad address the substantive criticisms raised by Bill’s post. You can do better.

        In the following example I’ll take one of your own statements to illustrate for you just how easy it is to have an honest exchange with someone:

        You said “What team’s [sic] are 10 times SB’s size.” I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Bill was using “10 times their size” as a figure of speech and probably not literally. In other words, he probably means “significantly bigger” (Bill can correct me if he wants). The biggest league opponent SB faces, Eureka, had 1102 students in 2016-2017 (according to the most reliable enrollment figures available online). If SB has 150 students, what percentage of 1102 is 150? I’ll save you the trouble: EHS is about 7.35 times the size of SB. To reasonable people (I’m obviously not including you in that group), that is significant difference in size. And SB, of course, has a legitimate gripe with the HDNL’s refusal to acknowledge this difference in size, which will always favor the larger schools. So you are wrong to claim otherwise. Again.

        See? It isn’t that hard to have an honest discussion with someone, even if you disagree with them. And stay on point, because people are less inclined to take you seriously when your statement devolves into aimless ranting: no one is talking about Humboldt’s “drug culture” here. Also, SB is a college prep school. Your comment is a much better example of something “parochial,” I would say.

        Be the Henchman of Justice, not the Henchman of Ignorance.

        I believe in you.


        St. B

    • Aye, maybe you should do some research on who is on the HDN board, you might be surprised on who actually votes for these decisions. Just a thought before you start bashing on people for no reason. Also, do some research on competitive equity, that was NOT a rule when ferndale dominated the little four. Thank you!

  2. That was an interesting post St. B., so you got to write for someone else without their knowledge that you are guessing and attempting to explain their over-exaggeration…lol….and you subverted “team size” with “school size”… so undignified, and the smack you wrote is epic Nancy Pelosi style, makin stuff up…you should run for a position on the DNC, they need bad hacks…

    Still though, the honest question is, “which teams are 10 times the size”…legit too…but mock away…

    Players just want to play, and boy, did St. B’s perform top notch this season, totally justifies they belonged with bigger schools…

  3. St. B. – Drug culture is why South Fork plays 8 player football, families with athletes have high tailed it out of Miranda over the past decade..damn straight up fact…Little 5 went bye bye…

Leave a Reply