Little 4 teams to renew old rivalries this season

Ray Hamill/ – The Hoopa Warriors at Saturday’s six-team preseason scrimmage in Fortuna.

By Ray Hamill — Three Little 4 teams will get the opportunity to renew a couple of old rivalries when the new high school football season gets under way next week.

In week one Hoopa will travel to Miranda to play South Fork for just the second time since 2016, and one week later the Cubs will host Ferndale for the first time in six years.

South Fork has played predominantly eight-man football since the fall of 2016, with the exception of three games during the COVID-shortened season in the spring of 2021.

With a healthy roster size, however, South Fork head coach Karl Terrell is hoping to see the Cubs return fulltime to 11-man ball in 2023.

And with that in mind, Terrell and his players will play both Hoopa and Ferndale in 11-man ball in the first two weeks of this season.

“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.”

And that’s good news for some old Little 4 football rivalries.

“We’re glad we get to play them again,” Hoopa head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings said. “During the COVID year they came here and beat us and we want to play them again. I’m looking forward to playing South Fork. We miss playing those guys, so I’m excited to have them back on the schedule.”

According to Terrell, the Cubs are also looking forward to playing Ferndale.

Several of the Ferndale and South Fork players know each other well from playing American Legion baseball together and the head coach says they have been talking about this fall’s game for a while.

After the opening two games, the Cubs will return to eight-man ball for the rest of the season, leaving Ferndale and Hoopa to battle Arcata and McKinleyville for the Little 4 championship.

Milk Can preview. The Ferndale Wildcats and Fortuna Huskies scrimmaged at Husky Field on Saturday.

And Billings believes it’s going to be a tight battle for the league title, with all four teams contenders.

“I think we’re all going to be competitive,” the Hoopa coach said. “I think everybody’s even. Whoever has been working harder in practice will probably win on the day. Anyone can win.”

The Warriors will carry some momentum into the new campaign after closing out strong last year to make the North Coast Section playoffs.

They also impressed during Saturday’s scrimmage at Fortuna, making some big plays against some of the best teams in the H-DNL.

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