H-DNL tries to keep impressive run going in playoff football

Ray Hamill/ – St. Bernard’s Brody Tomlin makes a tackle during Saturday’s playoff win over De Anza.

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.

4 replies »

  1. I am happy for the success of our local football teams, but not happy the way that the HDNL continues to align the league schools. It is not reasonable or sustainable to place Arcata in a Division that is lower than St Bernards. SB should be allowed to play in a league/division that is representative of their size, just like Arcata should be based on their size.

    For SB to have to play against schools that are way bigger and Arcata playing against schools that are much smaller makes no common sense. Sports are about numbers, league is about school size based on enrollment, not on wins and losses.

    The school that SB has to play next is San Marin, size over 1,000 enrollment. They have a freshman, JV, and Varsity football team. SB has 156 enrollment, and this year had a JV football team in addition to the Varsity team for the first time in 4 years. San Marin football roster for Varsity lists 33 players, SB football roster for Varsity is around 18 players.

    Fair and equitable competition, not hardly.

    • Robert it’s based on the section criteria.
      SB is in the same division for football in the NCS as Eureka, Fortuna and Del Norte. Hence the league alignments for the HDNL.
      This all changed about 7-8 years ago when the NCS went away from strictly looking at school size and came with a term something like “competitive equity”. The section came up with criteria where they looked at wins/losses based on the last two years and started moving teams up and down from their traditional divisions.
      The same thing happens in basketball.

  2. Allan thank you for that information. Not that I understand it, but good to know at any rate.

    It sounds like the “everybody gets a trophy” syndrome to me. Sorry, but that is just the way this is coming across. You pose that situation to 100 people with no background or politics involved and you will get 90 plus of them saying that sounds ridiculous. Since when are leagues/division set on wins and losses? Nonsense to me.

    NCAA football has Div I, Div II, Div III, and NAIA for just that reason. Otherwise, CR Football back in the 70’s would have been playing Cal and Stanford. The Connecticut Huskies women’s Basketball team would be playing in the WNBA.

    This is not the way to reward teams for doing well in their respective leagues. Not a long term solution, and is not necessary. There are always winners and losers, that is life. Going to school is a learning experience, what we are telling these kids by these actions is not a good lesson in life.

  3. I’m not saying I agree with it, but really when the section came up the idea, lots of leagues followed.
    Look at the league’s down in the Santa Rosa area, they have all changed in the past few years from what they traditionally were.

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