H-DNL approves schedules for football, soccer

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By Ray Hamill — On Tuesday afternoon, the H-DNL Board of Managers unanimously approved the proposed schedules for the upcoming football and soccer seasons.

In addition, the league athletic directors have scheduled another meeting on Monday to discuss the possibility of moving some other sports forward in order to avoid a logjam later in the spring.

The football season will kick off on March 19 and run for five weekends, with the Fortuna Huskies fielding an A and B team to round up the number of league teams to 10 so as to avoid any byes in a shortened schedule.

“Right now we are about taking care of each other,” said Fortuna head coach Mike Benbow, who pieced together the proposed schedule.

Each team will play three home games, with the exception of Eureka, which is unable to play at Albee Stadium this season and will play all road games.

Arcata will play its home games at McKinleyville.

It is still unclear whether Hoopa will be able to play on the opening weekend because of COVID concerns in the area.

The Warriors won’t be able to return to school and begin practice until the district goes three straight days with zero new cases, and they may not have the mandatory 10 days of practice accumulated before opening weekend.

Hoopa vice principal Douglas Becksted described it as “highly unlikely” they would be able to play on the opening weekend.

The Warriors are scheduled to play Fortuna B on the first weekend and if the game has to be canceled no other school will lose out.

If the Warriors are still unable to go in week two, then Fortuna B will have another bye and the team they are scheduled to play (McKinleyville) will instead play the team Hoopa is scheduled to play (Eureka).

The board also approved the league soccer schedule, with the opening round of games set for March 17 and games to be played on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The league will feature eight girls teams, with Hoopa not fielding a squad, and six boys teams, with Hoopa, Ferndale and St. Bernard’s not competing.

St. Bernard’s normally fields a boys team, but is unable to this year with athletes currently prohibited by local health officials from playing two sports at the same time.

Eureka AD Kristie Christiansen met with Senator Mike McGuire, Sheriff William Honsal and Supervisor Rex Bohan on Saturday and told the board of managers that she is “hopeful we might see a change in that.”

The board also voted to play boys golf and girls tennis simultaneously with football and soccer, and scheduled an ADs meeting on Monday to discuss the possibility of moving baseball, softball or track and field forward to avoid a conflict with so many sports later in the spring.

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