By Ray Hamill — Get ready for a crucial four games in four days that will have a big impact on four different league races.
The action begins on Tuesday with key showdowns in Big 5 volleyball and H-DNL boys soccer and continues with a pivotal girls soccer game on Wednesday night and a top-of-the-table clash between the L4 frontrunners in football on Friday night.
None of these games will decide a league title, but all of them should go a long way toward it.
The Warriors are 4-0 in the Big 5, while the defend league champion Tigers are 2-2, having dropped games against both Del Norte and Eureka.
The first league meeting between these two rivals was on opening night and was as good a game of volleyball as we’ll see all season, with just the minimum two points separating the two teams in all five sets.
That alone should make this one worth watching.
Game time is set for approximately 6:30 p.m., following the JV game.
A win for Del Norte will keep the Warriors on track for the league pennant, while a win for Arcata would throw the race wide open again.
Eureka is currently Del Norte’s closest challengers with a league record of 3-1 at the halfway stage, and the Loggers will try to keep their impressive campaign going when they host McKinleyville on Tuesday night.
Also on Tuesday, Fortuna will host Arcata in H-DNL boys soccer.
The Huskies have dominated the league for the past decade, winning eight consecutive titles (which would have been nine had the league awarded a championship in the COVID-shortened spring 2021 season), although it looks like we will have a new champion this year.
The pennant will likely go to either Arcata or Eureka, who meet in a pivotal showdown next week (they tied in their first league meeting) but the Huskies are getting better each week and their games against Arcata have been some of the best matchups of the season in recent years.
The undefeated Tigers need a win to keep pace with a Eureka team that has also yet to lose in league play, while the Huskies will be eager to show they’re not going to give up their title easily.
The game is set for 6 p.m. at Husky Stadium.
Soccer takes center stage again on Wednesday, with the first of three massive league showdowns between arch rivals Arcata and Eureka.
The Loggers are 2-0 in league play, while Arcata is 1-1 after giving up a late goal in a 1-0 loss against McKinleyville over the weekend.
If the Eureka girls win, it will give them a huge early advantage in the race for the league title, whereas a win for the Arcata girls would quickly and decisively put Saturday’s disappointment in the rearview mirror.
This could be the best current high school rivalry in any sport here on the North Coast and when these two teams meet they never disappoint.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Albee Stadium.
Rounding out a huge four days in local sports, on Friday night the two Little 4 leaders in football will face off in a key game at McKinleyville High, when the Panthers play the Hoopa Warriors.
Both kicked off league play with a victory this past weekend, although both had to dig deep in the second half to pull out the victory.
The Panthers defeated Ferndale 38-22 and the Warriors got the better of Arcata 13-7.
Friday’s game between the two league favorites won’t decide the Little 4 championship, but the winners will take over solo possession of top spot in the league standings and have a big early advantage.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.