By Ray Hamill — The Big 4 and Little 4 could be all but decided this weekend, or, depending on how results go, both races could be thrown wide open again.
First up, on Friday night, the top two teams in the Big 4 — and the top two teams in this week’s Humboldt Sports Power Rankings — meet when St. Bernard’s (4-3 overall, 2-1 in the Big 5) travels to Crescent City to take on Del Norte (5-1, 3-0).
A win for the Warriors would push them two wins clear of the chasing pack with just two games remaining and would secure at least a share of the title.
Del Norte would then need just one more win against either Fortuna (away) or Eureka (home) to win the championship outright.
A win for the Crusaders, however, would lift them into a tie with the Warriors heading into the final two weekends of the regular season.
The two Big 4 rivals are also the No. 2 (DN) and No. 3 (SB) teams in the NCS Division-5 field, according to MaxPreps, trailing only unbeaten San Marin (7-0).
The Little 4, meanwhile, takes center stage on Saturday, when conference leading Arcata (5-2, 3-0) travels to Ferndale (2-1, 2-4) for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Like with Del Norte, the Tigers can be crowned co-champs with a win over their closest rivals, while a win for the Wildcats would throw the race wide open.
The Tigers have won five straight games and have comfortably handled all three of the conference opponents the past three weeks, including a blowout victory over Ferndale.
The Cats, however, have turned their season around since that loss, winning two straight to push them right back into contention for the L4 title.
Also in action this weekend, Fortuna travels to Eureka on Friday night, but the McKinleyville and Hoopa game on Saturday night has been cancelled.
In eight-man football, South Fork will travel to play league rivals Upper Lake in a non-league game on Friday night at 6 p.m.