By Ray Hamill — Two of the nine H-DNL varsity football teams have switched divisions for the North Coast Section playoffs this fall.
The Del Norte Warriors have been moved up to Division 4, while the Fortuna Huskies have dropped down to Division 6.
A total of seven of the 120 NCS football teams switched divisions this fall, but Del Norte is the only school to move up a division in the entire section.
Surprisingly, the Warriors have been moved up despite not winning a section title last season, while the Division-5 champs, the San Marin Mustangs, remain in the same division despite their recent success.
According to the NCS, the Warriors were moved up because of “competitive division criteria.”
That criteria takes into account how a team performed in the 2018, 2019 and 2021 seasons, but does not take the COVID shortened campaign of spring 2021 into consideration.
The Warriors have a combined record of 32-7 during the 2018, 2019 and 2021 seasons, including a 6-2 mark in the NCS playoffs.
They also made it to a state bowl game in 2019.
According to the NCS rankings on MaxPreps this week, Del Norte is the No. 4 team in Division 4 and No. 15 overall in the section.
The Warriors are coming off a comprehensive 71-13 over Kelseyville in their season opener on Friday night.
St. Bernard’s is the second highest ranked local team, according to MaxPreps, and is No. 23 overall in the section and No. 2 in Division 5.
Eureka is also in Division 5 and is ranked No. 6 (No. 48 overall).
The H-DNL has two teams in Division 6 — No. 2 Fortuna and No. 7 Arcata.
There are three H-DNL teams in Division 7, including No. 6 McKinleyville, No. 8 Hoopa and No. 9 Ferndale.
There are no rankings for the eight-person division, which includes South Fork.