By Ray Hamill — Three H-DNL teams remain in contention in the North Coast Section football playoffs, with key games for all three on Friday night.
Fresh off lopsided wins in their opening round games, Arcata and Del Norte are both seeded No. 2 in their brackets and will host semifinals, while St. Bernard’s is No. 4 in Division 5 and will have to battle No. 1 San Marin on the road.
At stake, however, is more than just a place in a section championship game, as the H-DNL looks to keep an impressive run going.
The most northern league in the section has enjoyed a lot of success in the NCS playoffs in recent years, winning at least one championship in each of the past three postseasons. (There were no playoffs held last year.)
Not only that, but the H-DNL has celebrated at least one title in eight of the past 11 years, dating back to Eureka’s success in 2009.
Since then, Hoopa (2010, 2011), St. Bernard’s (2015, 2019) and Fortuna (2017, 2018) have each won twice, while Ferndale (2012) and Del Norte (2019) have each won once.
The league could add as many as two more championships this year and all three remaining teams will fancy their chances.
Arcata is competing in Division 6 and will host No. 3 Justin-Siena at McKinleyville High, while Del Norte is in Division 5 and will host No. 6 Miramonte.
If Del Norte and St. Bernard’s both win this weekend, the H-DNL will be guaranteed at least one NCS championship with an all-local Division-5 decider next week.