The Greyhounds ended their 2023 season last Friday, Nov. 3, with a loss to Piner High in Santa Rosa. The 28-14 final score gave Piner (5-5, 1-3 in the league) fourth place in the five-team NCS Redwood League, ahead of Healdsburg (0-9-1, 0-4).
At the Santa Rosa field, both Nova Perrill II and Alexander Harms scored first-half TDs, and kicker Mario Castro delivered his reliable conversion points. The Hounds took a 14-7 lead into halftime, but the Prospectors adjusted and their quarterback Soso Prak sliced open the Hounds’ pass defense to score three touchdowns in the second half for the win.
“It has been a tough year with moments to cheer about, but too many teams have players who clearly have much more experience than our players,” said Richard Bugarske, the game announcer at Rec Park for the Healdsburg Hounds.
Bugarske, a former teacher and administrator at both Windsor High and Healdsburg High, is currently president of the Healdsburg High Athletic Booster Club and the Membership chair.
“Having a JV team with freshmen and sophomores will help,” he said. “The hope is that the players don’t give up, because losing is no fun.”
But losing has become the unfortunate norm for recent Healdsburg Hounds. The last year the team made the NCS playoffs was in 2016, when their record was 5 wins, 6 losses, under coach Todd Beth.
The following year they switched coaches to Dave Stine and went 3-6, but in 2018 the team got off to such a rocky start, losing their first two games 41-0 and 61-0, the players voted to suspend the season.
With Shaun Montecito coaching, they went without a win in the next two seasons, 2019 and 2020, and only in 2021 did they again show some success in coach Robert Gray’s first year, with a 3-6 record.
That season included wins over Fort Bragg, Willits and Kennedy. The Sept. 24, 2021 13-6 win over Kennedy in Richmond was the last time the Hounds scored more points than their opponent.
The following year, Gray’s second as head coach, they went 0-10, and Randy Parmeter was hired for the 2023 season.
The Greyhounds soldiered through both 2022 and 2023 without a win, though on Sept. 29 of this year a 42-42 lock against Berean Christian provided a flicker of optimism. With Randy Parmeter now serving as coach, the Greyhounds hope they can convert some of those Ls to Ws, and look forward to a more equitable schedule for 2024.
The lopsided record of several teams in the North Coast Section (NCS) has led to a revised league structure next year, an attempt at more equity among the teams’ schedules. Most of their opponents this season were in higher divisions, based on school enrollment, which usually means a better selection of players and more success on the field.
Next year the schedule will be more suitable for a Division 7 team (550 students and below) like the Greyhounds. It will be called the Mountain League, and its members will include Archie Williams (San Anselmo), Novato, Piner, San Rafael, Sonoma Valley and Terra Linda, as well as Healdsburg.
“With the attempt at more equity, the teams next year should give the Hounds a chance to have more success,” said Bugarske.