By Ray Hamill — The South Fork Cubs know what they have to do if they are to win in the opening round of this week’s NCS football playoffs, and it’s not that complicated.
They have to play a complete game.
The Cubs (5-4) received the No. 5 seed in the eight-person bracket and will travel to play No. 4 Calistoga (5-2) on Friday night.
The two teams met in Miranda a month ago during the regular season, with the Wildcats running out to a 43-14 win.
The Cubs, however, played them tough for the first half and the game was tied 6-6 at the break.
“We just kind of fell off in our tackling in the second half,” head coach Karl Terrell said. “But I think we’ll be okay if we come to play for 48 minutes.”
The Cubs have gone 3-2 since then and have been competitive in most of their games, although they closed out the regular season with a 36-0 loss at home to Upper Lake in the NCL-II decider, which was the team’s first league loss in four years.
They go into Friday’s showdown with a senior heavy line that will need to set the tone, and a group of younger skill position players that have been impressing this season.
They also, however, have a number of injury concerns, including junior quarterback John Harding, who was sidelined for the second half of last week’s Upper Lake game.
Terrell says he will know more about Harding and his other injury concerns on Thursday but is hopeful of having them ready to go for such a big game.
Sophomore Shevy Bero-van Meter filled in for Harding last week and has been enjoying a good season with the team playing at defensive back, receiver and quarterback.
Freshman running back/defensive back Wesley Way also is enjoying a breakout season with the team and looks set to contribute at a high level for a few years.
Another sophomore, Justin Freitas, also has been impressive during the business end of the season on both sides of the ball.
“He’s always a constant for us,” Terrell said of the safety/linebacker/running back.
Since Terrell came out of retirement to coach the team again in early September, the Cubs have posted victories over Round Valley (twice), California School for the Deaf, Anderson Valley and Potter Valley, while losing to Calistoga and Upper Lake (twice).
In their five wins, the Cubs have averaged a very impressive 60 points a game and have not scored less than 50 in any one of them.
In their three losses, however, they’ve managed just 14 points total.
“We’ve got to get to the next level, and hopefully we can do that,” Terrell said. “Our young athletes are learning how to win and how to compete at that next level.”
Friday’s game kicks off at 7 p.m.