Fans and supporters of Enterprise High School football have been telling people all season long that their team deserved a shot to play for the Northern California championship. Early in the season I thought it was rather pre-mature to already lobby for the title tilt.
As the season progressed we could all see the Redding school had a special team and would certainly be in the discussion, yet the fans and supporters continued with their constant haranguing, “we deserve a title match-up.” My initial response was simmer down, get over yourselves, let the season play out. Well, we now know that these Hornet enthusiasts were spot on.
For most high school football sections an undefeated season would certainly make them the odds-on favorite to play in the Nor-Cal game, but not with the North Section. The section’s dis-respect at the state level has been comprehensive and arguably well-deserved, for the most part North Section schools don’t measure up to more urban areas in several athletic endeavors. That isn’t opinion, that is fact. so there was this genuine feeling that Enterprise would be passed over for the title game. But, in the end, their body of work and resume was too good to overlook. The Hornets got their shot.
What they did with that shot will now live in North Section football lore and I will explain why every North Section school, and yes, I am even talking to you Paradise, EVERY SCHOOL should thank the Hornets for their impressive 27-21 win over Manteca on Saturday night.
The Hornets win immediately gives the North Section respectability. I am not just talking about other schools in their division. We are talking up and down the board. This will make the power brokers at the CIF think twice about over-looking a North Section school when a particular squad puts up such a dominant season. Now, I know this is not an easy sell to some of the rabid fans and the hard-core rivals of Enterprise. Heck, I would tell someone to bug off if they told me it was for the greater good that the Giants won the World Series and it certainly helps garner respect for the rest of the National League West…….horse hockey and fiddle-sticks, I don’t want to hear it. But, when it comes to the good of the North Section, this win will prove valuable.
Just think about it, what if down the road a Shasta or Paradise puts up a dominant undefeated season. And, CIF members are reluctant to put them in a title game against other qualified teams. This win by Enterprise will help in that argument to give the Shasta’s, Paradise’s and Pleasant Valley’s a shot.
I write this knowing this is a tough sell for many on the ridge who wear the Green and Gold, the Bobcat Nation. Having broadcast their games for several years I truly understand and empathize with the animus toward their rivals to the north. But, I ask you to look at the big picture and give credit where credit is due. The Hornets are one of the best teams the Section has seen and their dominance has been thorough this season. Give their kids credit, applaud their amazing season. And, (gulp) put the rivalry aside for just one night and pull for the Hornets to win a state title.
In this case, it will help everyone in the Section.
You can go back to wanting to beat them next Sunday.