Intriguing opening weekend scheduled for H-DNL football season 

Ray Hamill/ – The new high school football season kicks off on the weekend of Aug. 25/26.

By Ray Hamill — Opening weekend in local school football is now just five weeks away, with all nine H-DNL programs preparing for what they all hope will be a successful fall.

And all nine varsity teams will be in action on the opening weekend, which is set for Aug. 25/26 and features two big all-local matchups under the lights on Saturday night.

The two local defending league champions both kick off their 2023 campaigns on Friday night.

Big 4 champ Del Norte and new head coach Darren Lafazio will open on the road at Lower Lake, while Little 4 champion McKinleyville opens at home against Kelseyville in a matchup of two Division-7 teams.

This season sees a total of 18 North Coast Section teams switch divisions — either moving up or down, based on competitive equity — but all nine H-DNL teams remain in the same division as 2022.

And that means Del Norte will compete in Division 4, with Eureka and St. Bernard’s in Division 5 and Arcata and Fortuna in Division 6.

Three local teams feature in Division 7 — McKinleyville, Hoopa and Ferndale — while South Fork remains in 8-Person Football Division 1.

Opening weekend will feature two all-local matchups, with the Arcata Tigers hosting the Eureka Loggers on Saturday night.

Also on Saturday night, St. Bernard’s will kick off the new season at Hoopa in another all-local showdown.

The South Fork Cubs, meanwhile, will play just five 8-person games this fall five against 11-player programs.

They open at home to Fort Bragg on that Friday night and follow that with successive games against Hoopa, Ferndale, Clear Lake and Kennedy, before beginning a five-game run against 8-person programs, four of which will be league games.

Longtime head coach Mike Benbow and the Fortuna Huskies will also kick off the new season on Aug. 25 under the lights at Husky Field, when they welcome University Prep to The Friendly City.

And rounding out what will be a busy opening weekend for the H-DNL, Ferndale will kick off on that Saturday afternoon at Fall River.

3 replies »

  1. Comptetive equity…

    oxymoron… hurts the better teams thrusted into a worse situation…

  2. Last year champs, this year moved to a harder division to get beat up… promotional punishment…

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