Changes ahead for South Fork football, as longtime coach returns

Ray Hamill/ – The South Fork Cubs played 11-man football in the spring of 2021.

By Ray Hamill — Head coach Karl Terrell will be back on the sidelines this fall, as the South Fork Cubs get set to begin football practice on Monday.

Terrell stepped down as head coach of the team in the summer of 2021, but he returned early in the fall when the position opened up again.

He had intended on stepping down again after the season, but the disappointment with how things ended and a renewed enthusiasm this spring sees him back on the sidelines again and eager to guide the program through some upcoming changes.

Terrell and his players saw last season end in heartbreaking fashion when they had to forfeit their North Coast Section playoff game to Calistoga because of COVID protocols.

He took some time off after that and did some traveling with his wife, and with no one else stepping into the role he decided to come back for another year with the team.

“In April I was ready to go again, because I had some time away from school,” he said. “I love what I do, but year to year, when you get my age, you don’t know how things are going to go.”

South Fork is also planning on switching back to 11-man football.

With the exception of three games during the COVID-shortened spring 2021 season, the Cubs have not played 11-man football since the fall of 2016.

They will continue to play mostly eight-man football this fall, but will play two 11-man games to open the season, as they get set to make the jump back to the Little 4 in 2023.

“I want to get these guys ready to make the jump back to 11-man next year and get back in the Little 4,” Terrell said. “That’s the plan.”

After graduating seven lineman from a year ago, it will be mostly a young team in 2022, with only two seniors and a large junior class.

“I hope they build this year and we’ll have a pretty good senior class a year from now,” the coach said.

The potential jump to the Little 4 isn’t the only change in store in Miranda.

With the help of some boosters, Terrell and the Cubs have added a new scoreboard for the upcoming season.

The Cubs will also play a tougher eight-man schedule this fall, with the NCL switching from two geographical-based divisions to divisions based on how teams have fared recently.

“We’re going to have a pretty tough season because of that,” Terrell said. “But it makes it fun. The teams are going to be competitive.”

Terrell had 25 players show up for offseason workouts in the spring and he is hoping to see them all back at practice on Monday.

The Cubs open the season with back-to-back home games against the Hoopa Warriors and Ferndale Wildcats on Aug. 26 and Sept. 2.

And some of the players are particularly looking forward to renewing their rivalry with the Ferndale players, many of whom they play summer baseball with.

“I’m pretty excited about (the season),” Terrell said. “I’m pretty excited to get back in the saddle.”

The Cats and Cubs have not played each other since 2016.

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