After a lengthy bus ride across forests, mountains, and rivers, the football team arrived in Fortuna last night to prepare for their upcoming game tonight. They will face the Fortuna Huskies, who post a record of 8-2, according to Maxpreps.
Piedmont, who has just come off their 54-50 shootout victory against Moreau Catholic last Saturday, is the 10th seed in the Division IV NCS bracket. Fortuna is seeded at two.
“I’m excited because I know it will be a good game,” senior Jason Duecker said. “I’m looking forward to a challenge.”
Fortuna is one of the farthest high schools Piedmont has ever visited, and maybe one of the coldest.
“It’s thirty degree weather over here,” senior Spencer Kim said.
For Kim, the combination of weather and distance from home presents challenges.
“I hope we’re gonna win, if we do, we might get a home game next week,” he said. “It’s a seven and a half hour drive, and that’s tough for any team. We’re in their home territory.”
Senior Michael Tam, who will be playing in his third NCS game, said the distance from home and the length of the drive was beneficial to the team.
“We’re going to use this opportunity to bond as a team so during the game we can focus and work as one,” Tam said. “[Bus rides] are our way of bonding together and without the bus ride I don’t think the the trip would have been as meaningful.”
For now, the players are getting meals together and doing various activities around the town of Fortuna.
“As a team we’re watching a movie and having a nice dinner at Sizzler’s before we go into the game,” Tam said.
At home, students and community members hope for the best.
“It’s something for high school students to center around,” Piedmont resident and parent Jonathan Payne said. “It’s really American.”
Junior Kieran Baack said he thinks that the team has achieved a lot, beyond the field.
“It shows how Piedmont High School achieves the honorable,” he said. “Football exemplifies Piedmont by their activity both on and off the field and their academic, athletic, and moral exploits.”
Win or lose, Kim said he thinks that this experience will be beneficial for the future of the program and future players.
“It’s a good experience for those who are playing next year,” Kim said.
If Piedmont wins, they will either face the third seeded Healdsburg at Healdsburg High School or Del Norte High School in Piedmont.