Neither team has managed to play a game yet, with COVID protocols and the air quality taking their toll on the early schedule, but both head coaches are optimistic their fortunes are about to change.
“The kids have been bummed out about it,” Eureka head coach Andrew Haraldson said. “But we’ve been up front with them and asked them their opinions on (the situation), and they’re hanging in there.
“They’re working really hard and doing a great job honestly.”
The Loggers had to cancel their opener against Foothill a week ago and then were forced to postpone this weekend’s game at Windsor until later in the month, all because of positive COVID tests and contact tracing.
All of their linemen missed practices for 10 days, while their receivers were out for six.
“We haven’t had enough practices together,” Haraldson said.
The good news, however, is that all but four players are now back and the team looks set to finally open the new season at home to Ukiah next Saturday.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday night but Ukiah asked to move it back a day because of transportation logistics at the school.
Hoopa, meanwhile, has also missed out on two games.
The Warriors were not permitted to travel out of the county on the opening weekend to play Trinity because of COVID concerns, and were told by their school district they could not play this weekend because the school has been closed all week due to the air quality in the area.
Head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings and his players were not happy with the decision and the lack of explanation they received.
“Our district office shut us down,” the head coach said. “We could be practicing but they won’t let us. I don’t like the way they’re not discussing it with us.”
The good news is the Warriors are scheduled to return to the practice field on Monday, nine days after they were shut down.
Many of the players have also been working out hard for several months now in preparation for the season, with a productive summer in the weight room for the program.
And, according to the coach, their attitude remains upbeat.
“They’re still positive and everything,” Billings said. “And they’re working out on their own, just not football wise.”
The JV team also has been unable to play yet, something that will not help the young players’ development.
“It really sucks for our JV team,” Billings said. “Because they’re all new players.”
The Warriors have high expectations for the season, after a young squad went through some growing pains in the spring and returned all but two starters this fall.
Adding to their problems, however, is the fact they have a bye scheduled for next weekend, which means they could go yet another week without a game.
Billings said he is looking to fill the void and is hoping to add an opponent on Monday.
In the meantime, the coach and his players are remaining as positive as they can and looking forward to the opportunity to finally play a game.
“It’s just hard, but our team chemistry is still there,” the coach said.