Statement victory – After feasting on some overmatched competition, Del Norte High’s varsity football team dominated a solid Eureka High squard that came into the Sept. 30 homecoming game with 3-1 record. The Warriors won 45-0, sending the packed Mike Whalen Field crowd home happy. Del Norte now gets back-to-back bye weeks before beginning the Big Four Conference season on Saturday, Oct. 22 … at Eureka High.
It was over when … – Kicker Daniel Gonzalez, who has been all-but-perfect on extra points this season, nailed a 28-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to lift Del Norte to a 17-0 halftime lead, and give the Warriors a major emotional lift.
Three straight over the Loggers – Del Norte has now defeated Eureka three games in a row and four of the past five times the two teams have met. The Warriors have pitched shutouts over the Loggers in the past two contests, outscoring Eureka 85-0.
On the defensive – Eureka came into the game averaging 26 points per game and had scored 30 or more in its three victories. Against Del Norte, the Loggers’ running attack was bottled up (3 yards for the game), and when Eureka quarterback Rogan Bode tried to pass, he usually found the Warriors’ Brody Mattz and Andrew Hunte chasing him with bad intentions. The result: Eureka finished with 36 yards in total offense. Mattz was named the Lisa McKeown/State Farm Insurance Player of the Game.
Defense, Part 2 – Del Norte’s defense has now limited foes to an average of 8.8 points per game. It has outgained every opponent it has played. Only one team has had more than 200 yards in offense … Kelseyville in the first game of the season. Del Norte beat Kelseyville by 58.
Welcome back Loftin – After missing the past two games following an injury at South Medford, senior R.J. Loftin returned to the lineup and turned in a strong performance. The running back scored on touchdown runs of 6, 5 and 10 yards and finished with 118 yards on 18 often-punishing carries.
DeSolinni runs wild – Giancarlo DeSolinni continues to be the Aaron Judge of North Coast football players. The senior scored second half home runs, errr, touchdowns of 75 and 48 yards. His final stats: seven carries for 177 yards. For the season, DeSolinni is averaging a close-to-unbelievable 17.9 yards per carry.
Do it all Maxwell – Despite being in his third year as starting quarterback, Cooper Maxwell has been more of a game manager than a stat-producing machine. That is shifting. His skills running the ball is being used more by Del Norte’s coaching staff, and against Eureka, the senior took a bobbled snap and turned it into a 30-yard touchdown run. It was just the second rushing TD of his career, and the longest rush as varsity quarterback. He was also an efficient five-for-six passing for 66 yards, four completions going to Caden Harrison.
Ethan Thomas, thief – Cornerback Ethan Thomas snagged his fifth interception of the season when he picked off Bode in the first half. Thomas would have an interception in every game save for a roughing-the-passing penalty that negated a pick against McKinleyville.
Punt at your own risk – A first-quarter blocked punt against Eureka was the third of the season for Del Norte, setting up Del Norte’s first touchdown drive. Speaking of punting, Del Norte didn’t against Eureka.
Get a kick out of you – Daniel Gonzalez had a perfect evening. The senior kicker, formerly a soccer player, not only nailed all six of his PAT kicks (improving to 35-36 this season), but he also kicked his first field goal of his career. His is now 1-2 this year.
A needed break – Del Norte Coach Nick White said that while the two-weekend break is odd, he’s happy about the time off. It will give his team the chance to prepare for the Big Four Conference season, and give three of his key players time to heal up. Starting fullback and middle linebacker Gavin Skerik has missed three games, while offensive and defensive lineman Jacob Dane has missed two. Super sophomore Aden Mintonya was also unavailable against Eureka.
How did opponents do – It was a good Friday night for Del Norte, because many Warrior opponents won, which improves the computer formula used to create the North Coast Section rankings and eventually, playoff seeding. Fortuna got a much-needed win over Gridley 21-9. McKinleyville knocked of Ferndale 38-22, Kelseyville got its first win of the season, 42-16 over Fort Bragg, West Valley dropped Red Bluff 34-6, South Medford remain undefeated by beating Sprague 33-18. Losing on Friday was future Warrior opponent St. Bernard’s, who fell to Oakland Tech 30-14. Piedmont remained winless, losing to DeAnza 6-0.
Up north – Congrats to the Brookings-Harbor High Bruins, who captured its first victory of the season Friday, knocked off Phoenix 28-14.
JV streak ends – Del Norte had its chances late, but couldn’t complete the comeback, falling to Eureka 8-7 Friday, the first loss in six games this season. Evand Ratnour scored late in the first half on a 13-yard run, but the Loggers scored early in the fourth quarter, and converted the two-point conversion for what turned out to be the winning margin.