By Ray Hamill — If the Crusaders are going to defend their state championship in football later this year, they’re going to have to do it the hard way.
A young St. Bernard’s team will feature just three seniors in 2020, including only two with any real varsity experience, and they’ll play only three regular-season games at home.
Five of their seven road games are against teams that made the playoffs last year, as are all three home games, making for a formidable schedule.
On the other hand, seven road trips will give this young group plenty of time to bond, including four straight away from St. Bernard’s to open the season.
Included in that opening month is a trip to Vancouver, Washington, to play Hudson’s Bay, as well as back-to-back trips to play at St. Vincent de Paul and Middletown to kick off the season.
The Middletown game will be a rematch from last season’s NCS playoff semifinal at St. Bernard’s, which the Crusaders won 35-7 on the way to winning both the section and 6-AA state championships.
Week four sees the Crusaders play at Arcata, before their home opener against rivals Ferndale a week later.
The Crusaders then head to Sunnyvale to play King’s Academy, the team Del Norte beat in the state playoffs last year.
After a bye, St. Bernard’s then plays back-to-back home games against Stellar Prep and Del Norte, the latter kicking off the Big 4.
The Crusaders close out the regular season with a pair of road games, at Eureka on Halloween night and at Fortuna a week later.
The Crusaders are 1-1-1 all-time against the Loggers, having knocked off their crosstown rivals 21-13 in 2019.