POLL HAS CLOSED
By Ray Hamill — Is there another team of 12-percenters out there?
That’s one of the questions local football fans need to ask themselves as we get set for the Little 4, which kicks off next week.
Last year, eventual league champion McKinleyville received just 12 percent of the pre-league votes cast in our annual poll asking our readers who they think will win the league title.
The Panthers trailed favorites Hoopa by a massive 60 percent of votes in the poll, and the Mack players used that as motivation on the way to winning their first four league games and comfortably securing a league crown for the first time since 1990.
So we have to ask ourselves as get set for the 2023 league campaign, is there another team of 12-percenters out there?
Arcata and Ferndale will go in as league favorites after relatively impressive pre-league schedules for both schools.
The Tigers (2-2) kicked off the season with their first win over Eureka in more than a decade, but followed that with a less-than-inspiring performance at Fortuna the following week.
The Wildcats are also 2-2, with one of their losses coming in overtime to Fall River on opening weekend.
They followed that with back-to-back victories over Fort Bragg and South Fork, but their last game was a lopsided loss to rival Fortuna in the annual Milk Can game so they should be extra motivated to kick off their league campaign the right way.
In fairness to the Panthers, they have been playing with just 13 players suiting up and have faced arguably the toughest schedule of all the local teams, with games against Kelseyville (4-1), Fortuna (4-1), University Prep (4-1) and Del Norte (2-2).
Hoopa, meanwhile, lacks experience and injuries have also taken a heavy toll on this year’s team, as did a limited preseason because of the air quality in the area.
But if last year taught us anything, it’s not to underestimate any of the teams the Little 4.
After all, there could be another team of 12-percenters out there.
Fans can vote once a day between now and Thursday, when we will announce the poll results.