By Ray Hamill — The Arcata Tigers are not afraid of challenging themselves on the football field.
Head coach Jamal Jones recently finalized the team’s 2020 schedule, with plenty of tough games included, especially early in the season.
“We never make our schedule easy,” Jones said.
Four of the team’s pre-conference games are against playoff teams from 2019, and the other is against rival Eureka.
The Tigers open the season at home to the Loggers at the Redwood Bowl in what should be a much anticipated matchup.
They then play three tough opponents in the build up to the Little 4, traveling to the Bay Area twice to play Pinole Valley and Balboa, each of which made the section playoffs last season, with a home game against state champions St. Bernard’s sandwiched in between.
“We’re going to be ready,” said Jones, who will have most of his players back from last season’s 6-5 team. “It’s going to be a challenge for us. We’re going to have to fill some holes, but we’ve got that core group coming back.”
That group includes quarterback Shane Purcell, who will be a junior in the fall and already has seen plenty of varsity playing time at the position, including a playoff start in 2019.
“He’s working his ass off right now,” said Jones, who is in regular contact with his players during the lockdown. “He’s a stud. He’s smart and his arm is coming alive. He’s throwing like he has a point to prove.”
Purcell will be a team captain in the fall.
The Tigers close out their season with six straight Little 4 games, including two against conference champs Ferndale.