The Arcata Tigers will face a tough challenge to open the North Coast Section football playoffs this weekend, as they head to Kennedy in Richmond for a Friday night showdown.
The Tigers are seeded No. 8 in the Division-6 bracket, and will kick off against an Eagles team that is 9-1 and seeded No. 1.
But that doesn’t mean anyone in Arcata is backing down from the challenge.
“We have to play pretty good ball, and I think the biggest thing for us is understanding what they want to do and go after them,” Arcata head coach Jamal Jones said.
Key to that, as always, will be the play of the Tigers offensive line, which has paved the way for their success this season, while opening holes for a number of impressive looking running backs.
“They keep getting it done,” Jones said of the line. “These guys keep everything going for us, and they’re up for the challenge. They’ve got a hell of a challenge, but our guys are foaming at the mouth. They want that challenge.”
Sophomore Shane Purcell will get the start at quarterback after impressing down the stretch of the season for the 6-4 Tigers.
“He’s doing good things back there and hopefully he can continue that tomorrow,” Jones said.
Expect Kien Mazzotti to lead a deep stable of running backs that has thrived this season behind the powerful offensive line, while standout senior lineman Mateo Vincent could again see time at fullback after that experiment worked well late in the regular season.
“If we find something that works for us, we’ll stick with it,” Jones said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.