By Ray Hamill — Right now it may seem like a long way off, but when the 2020/21 local prep football season gets here it could go down as a memorable one for a number of reasons.
This past weekend was supposed to be the season opener for most of the nine local programs, but obviously COVID-19 put a halt to that, with the season now not scheduled to begin until mid February.
That’s obviously a huge disappointment for most players and fans — not to mention the fact there will be no section or state playoffs for the H-DNL teams — but it’s not all bad news.
Here then are five reasons why the 2020/21 local prep football season should be a memorable one regardless …
1 — Get ready for a feast of football in 2021
There are no guarantees, but there’s every reason to believe the ongoing pandemic will have cleared up enough by the spring to play a season.
And while there is no denying the disappointment of the postponement — and the fact this fall will be vastly different because of it — at least we still have a season to look forward to and the players still have one to prepare for.
In fact, local football fans should be in for a feast of football in 2021, with two seasons scheduled, one in the spring and one in the fall.
Remember, it’s not a matter of if we’ll return to sports, it’s only a question of when.
2 — The H-DNL is highly competitive
Not playing out-of-the-area teams won’t be a problem for most local programs, not when you consider the level of competition within the H-DNL.
The league is a powerhouse beyond the NCS and as tough as any its size in the state, now annually sending teams to the state playoffs, where the Big 4 teams alone are 7-2 in state playoff games over the past five years.
For many H-DNL teams, playing an all-local schedule will be a step up in competition.
3 — Every game will have added local interest
Usually the most intense games of the season for the H-DNL teams are those against league rivals, and there will be no shortage of them next season.
And that means added interest for just about every game, with probably four all-local games every week taking place here on the North Coast.
It’s going to be somewhat short and sweet, but the season should be pretty intense from start to finish.
4 — It’s going to be unique
One way or the other, it’s going to be a unique season, one that will stand out in the annals of H-DNL history.
5 — Football is always special on the North Coast
Seriously, when is local high school football not fun?
The tradition of the sport here on the North Coast is as special as almost anywhere in the country, a tradition fueled by our relative isolation, our long-time success and our old-school approach to the sport.
No matter what the format of the season, that’s not going to change in the spring.