Arcata Tigers look like they belong in the Big 4 again

Ray Hamill/

By Ray Hamill — They may have lost a couple of tough games, but the Arcata Tigers have looked very impressive through the opening two weeks of the H-DNL football season.

This weekend, they will likely get their first win of the season when they host the Fortuna Killer B’s at McKinleyville High School on Saturday night.

And, according to one coach who has seen how good they are up close this season, North Coast football fans are underestimating how good these Tigers can be.

“I think people are sleeping on Arcata,” said Del Norte head coach Nick White, whose team had to battle hard against them last week before wearing them down in the second half.

The Tigers have had as difficult a start to the season as any team on the North Coast, losing an overtime thriller to Eureka on opening weekend and then having to face perennial physical powerhouse Del Norte in week two.

“(Del Norte’s) a championship level program and we want to get there,” Arcata head coach Jamal Jones said. “They’re extremely well-coached, and they’re extremely physical.

“They wore us down with that offense. I think they’re going to wear a lot of teams down with that offense.”

The Tigers are getting there, showcasing a big improvement this spring despite the two losses.

In addition to talented QB Shane Purcell, Arcata has depth at both receiver and running back, and features a physical line on both sides of the ball, one well capable of causing teams serious problems.

Jones and his players have embraced the games against Big 4 opposition in recent years and believe they should be playing in the Big 4 again instead of the Little 4, which they switched to three years ago.

Since that switch, however, their results haven’t shown us they belong in the Big 4, but this season their performances do.

These Tigers are only going to continue to get better.

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