By Ray Hamill — Most of the H-DNL football and soccer teams will return to practice on Monday, with the seasons for each expected to kick off in the coming weeks.
The H-DNL athletic directors met this week to discuss the options after being given the go-ahead by the state to resume competition in all outdoor sports, and the league will vote on a proposed schedule for both sports this coming Tuesday.
Hoopa is the only school unable to begin practice on Monday because of the district’s decision this week to shut down all sports activity at the school due to a rising number of COVID cases in the Hoopa Valley. That decision will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Details of the proposed football schedule are still being finalized and league commissioner Jack Lakin says he is still working with local health officials, who must approve the return to competition.
Proposed start dates for baseball, softball and track and field have now been pushed back from March to April, until after the football and soccer seasons have been completed.
The proposed football schedule includes scrimmages in two weeks time, after the mandatory 10 days of practice, followed by a five-week league schedule to run from March 19 to April 17.
To avoid any bye weeks in a nine-team league — and to avoid conference rivals playing each other more than once — Fortuna has proposed fielding an A and B team because the Huskies have a big enough roster to do so.
This would bring the number of teams to 10, with five all-local games to be played each weekend of the shortened season.
This would also result in at least some crossover games between the Big 4 and Little 5 teams, something some of the smaller schools have expressed their concern about.
South Fork will switch from eight-person football for the season and will join the Little 5, but the Cubs, along with McKinleyville and Hoopa, will no doubt be out-matched against the bigger programs.
The Big 4 teams have all said they will adjust their lineups accordingly for those games.
“I really believe that the bigger schools will take into consideration the size difference,” Hoopa athletic director Augie Valdez said.
The proposed schedule for soccer kicks off on March 17 and includes Wednesday and Saturday games.