Pierce is at University Prep in the Northern Section Division IV final beginning at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday) in Redding.

It’s been 17 years since the Pierce High School varsity football team has emerged as champions of the Northern Section, last winning the Division IV title in 2004. 

The Bears have an opportunity to reverse their misfortune in title games tonight (Wednesday) beginning at 6 p.m. against unbeaten University Prep in Redding in the Division IV championship game. The D-IV title game kicks off championship week in the NSCIF. Sutter Union High School is the other mid-valley school, playing for a championship at home Saturday against Paradise.

For Pierce, and fourth-year head coach Anthony Tapia, the road back to the title game started in 2019.

“The road has been long to get to where we are now,” Tapia said. “It seems like we’ve been training for this since we lost to East Nic in the 2019 D-IV finals.  Our program has gotten stronger and more focused since then.  Last year was unfortunate we didn’t get a chance to make a run but I’m proud of the way our team has been able to stay the course this season and give themselves another shot.” 

Pierce (9-3), seeded No. 2, will try to take down No. 1 University Prep (12-0) – a team that the Bears have not faced since a 49-48 loss to the Panthers back on Aug. 30, 2019. Before that Pierce had won five straight over U-Prep, which is a member of the Northern League against Orland, Lassen, Central Valley, Yreka and Anderson.

U-Prep has blown out everyone this year by double-digits except Orland and Durham – the latter the Panthers took down last week in the semifinals, 15-8. 

While Tapia knows tonight will be a tough test, the head coach feels Pierce’s varsity team 17 years later has a chance to pull off the upset.

Pierce’s last championship came on Nov. 24, 2004, in a 25-0 win over Trinity.

“I’m proud of our toughness as a team, we’ve challenged ourselves in the offseason, during our preseason and especially in league play, so I’m hoping that’s going to be a key in helping us be successful this week,” Tapia said. 

NSCIF playoff tickets on sale

Tickets for the section finals are on sale at https://gofan.co/app/school/CIFNS. Prices are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors (60 and above) and students with an ASB, and $15 for an unaccompanied K-8 student.

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