Hoopa Valley prepares for ‘win or go home’ contest against California School for the Deaf

Hoopa Valley’s AJ Perez extends for a touchdown during a win over McKinleyville on Oct. 18. Hoopa Valley will host the California School for the Deaf on Saturday with a playoff ticket at stake. (Jose Quezada — For the Times-Standard)
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The playoffs will start a week early for Hoopa Valley as the Warriors welcome the California School for the Deaf (CSD) to town for a regular season finale that will send the victor into the North Coast Section Division-VII tournament and the loser, into the off-season.

Hoopa Valley (3-6) picked up today’s home game against CSD (6-3), a 1 p.m. kickoff, to round out its 10-game regular season schedule after canceling its season opener due a an injured and depleted roster.

Hoopa Valley is currently ranked No. 9 in D-VII, putting the Warriors on the outside looking in regarding the playoff picture according to Prep2Prep.com which released its latest playoff projections earlier this week.

As of this morning, Hoopa Valley is not playoff eligible.

A win against CSD, the No. 8 ranked D-VII team (Prep2Prep.com), would make the Warriors eligible and give them a nod over CSD and in all likelihood the program’s second consecutive playoff birth.

“We’re feeling confident,” Hoopa Valley head coach Daniel Ryles said. “We’ve had a solid week of practice.”

The pseudo playoff game was made possible by a one-week extension of the regular season imposed by section officials to help accommodate teams which had missed games due to wildfires and power outages.

For Hoopa Valley, it was a gift from the section which may enable it to reach the postseason.

If the Warriors want to win, however, they’ll have to do so without starting quarterback John Smith and starting running back/backup QB, Tristin Campbell. Both will be out due to injury.

Aidan Mendes, a senior, will be under center to start the game. Ryles said Mendes has a “big arm” and is confident that the quarterback will be able to get the ball downfield to his play-makers, most notably Carlos Aguilar.

Hoopa Valley enters today’s contest following two lopsided loses, 42-6 to Ferndale on Oct. 26 and 56-16 to Arcata on Nov. 1.

A win today would go a long way towards erasing those loses from the minds of the Warriors.

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