By Ray Hamill — Seven of the nine H-DNL varsity teams have been included in the North Coast Section football playoff brackets, although only one of them will host in the opening round.
In a surprising move, the Del Norte Warriors were denied the opportunity to host their opener despite a dominating season on their way to a Big 4 championship.
The Warriors received the No. 5 seed in Division 4 and will kick off at No. 4 Tennyson in Hayward on Friday night.
This was surprising, however, because Del Norte has been ranked higher than the Lancers all season long, according to MaxPreps, and the two teams closed out the regular season at Nos. 17 and 24 in the NCS, respectively.
Tennyson is 8-2 and Del Norte is 8-1.
Friday’s game is set for 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to play either No. 1 Marin Catholic, the third-ranked team in the entire NCS, or No. 8 Newark Memorial.
Fortuna and St. Bernard’s each also have been included in the playoff brackets, along with McKinleyville, Arcata, Hoopa and South Fork.
Also in Division 7, Hoopa received the No. 8 seed and will play at No. 1 St. Vincent de Paul on Saturday at 1 p.m.
If the Panthers and Warriors should both win, they would play each other in the semifinals the following weekend.
Two local teams were also included in the Division-6 field.
Fortuna received the No. 5 seed and will open on the road at No. 4 Pinole Valley on Saturday night at 7, while Arcata is seeded No. 8 and will open at No. 1 Saint Mary’s on Saturday at 1 p.m.
And if they both win they also would face each other in the semifinals.
In Division 5, meanwhile, St. Bernard’s was given the No. 5 seed and will play at No. 4 De Anza on Saturday night at 7.
In the eight-man bracket, the South Fork Cubs are the only local local team to receive a top-four seed in their bracket.
The No. 3 Cubs will kick off their postseason at No. 6 Tomales, which is a league champion, on Friday night at 7.