The Loggers will be tested in their final pre-league game at Chico this weekend, and head coach Jason White wouldn’t want it any other way.
The Eureka program has long since scheduled tougher out of the area programs before kicking off the Big 4 or 5, and it’s a strategy that has usually benefitted the team later in the season.
“We want to do that because we know it prepares us for league and obviously going into playoffs,” Eureka head coach Jason White said.
Their six games this year have all come against big programs, and that will continue on Friday night at Chico, which comes into the game with a record of 5-1, including a 55-28 win at Enterprise last weekend.
“They’re athletic, and they’ve got some size up front, and that’s why they’re 5-1 right now,” White said of the Panthers. “They’re a pretty good team.”
The Panthers are ranked No. 155 in California, according to MaxPreps, the second highest ranked team on Eureka’s schedule this year, trailing only Placer (No. 139).
The Loggers, who are 3-3, are ranked No. 323.
“They’ve got balance,” White said of Chico. “They throw and run the ball well, and they’ve got some speed at wide receiver.
“Defensively, they stay at home and don’t make a lot of mistakes, and they’re physical.”
Key for the Loggers will be protecting the ball, something they have been working on during their bye week after three fumbles in a 27-0 win at Ukiah two weeks ago.
After missing much of the early season through injury, senior lineman Miles Meynell is back to full health and in game shape, and will start on both sides of the ball this week.
The showdown is the fourth road trip for the Loggers in their past five games, before they return home to host Fortuna in their conference opener next week.
The Eureka JVs will also be in action at Chico.
Both the JV and varsity game will be broadcast live online through the NFHS Network.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.