Last Saturday’s Mendocino High-Point Arena football game likely will be rescheduled for November after a communication mix-up between the school and referees resulted in the cancellation of Mendocino’s homecoming game.
Noah Gold, Mendocino’s athletic director, took responsibility for not making sure officials had the correct information about the game.
Students, alumni and community members enjoyed the traditional homecoming float parade and barbecue before the scheduled 1 p.m. game Sept. 26. The homecoming royalty was recognized and the queen, Naomi Baker, and king, Quin Field, were announced.
But as game time approached, concern grew that there were no officials at Tim Selders Memorial Field.
Gold began making calls in an effort to wrangle up a crew of referees and linesmen. After about 90 minutes, when no officials could be found on such late notice, Gold announced on a public address system that the game was canceled.
A handful of community members were angry and took to social media to call for Gold’s head, although others defended him as a caring and competent administrator who simply messed up.
On Monday, he acknowledged it was his duty to assure officials had the right time, date and location for the game. He declined to be more specific about the gaffe.
“It’s my responsibility to secure all things for a home game and that did not occur,” he said. “It’s the first time in an eight-year career, and the timing could not have been worse.”
He said he hopes people will forgive the blunder.
“I’m 1 for 780 or so,” he said, noting the other years of schedules that have gone off without a hitch. “It’s an aspect of being an athletic director. You have to get this right 100 percent of the time.”
Gary Frieders, president of the North Coast Officials Association, which provides officials for other leagues in the area but not Mendocino’s division, said scheduling problems happen in every sport.
“We don’t see a lot of errors, but it happens,” he said. “Usually it’s where ADs or coaches forget to advise the officials’ association.”
Gold said he hopes to be able to squeeze the game in on the last day of the season, Nov. 7, but it will depend on how both teams do in their final four or five games.
The nine schools in the North Central III 8-man league agreed to have an unofficial championship game on that date.
At this point, it appears Anderson Valley and Calistoga are headed for the playoff — both are 4-0 with four games left. Point Arena is 1-1 and Mendocino is 1-2.
If neither Point Arena nor Mendocino is able to overtake the leaders, both would be available to play a makeup of the Sept. 26 game.
“I will take a look at the schedules, and the moment I feel safe there won’t be a tremendous upset, I can reschedule the game,” Gold said. “I just can’t make it until every mathematical possibility is exhausted.”
Meanwhile, he said he is trying to move on from the public criticism: “Everything is relative. We’re in the sports world. You have to get up, dust yourself off and keep moving.”
You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @loriacarter.