As I look back on the four great years I spent as a student at Del Norte High School, it was fun to remember the many great teammates that I had the privilege of playing with.
Henry “Hank” Smith was one of those. When I joined the varsity Warrior football team as a sophomore, Hank was well entrenched as a starting end, the position I was hoping to play. Hank was a strong, talented athlete, and I remember that he always worked hard to get better. He was kind of soft-spoken, but he was an aggressive, hard hitter and I learned a lot from him.
Hank Smith was a solid three-sport athlete while a Warrior. He played football, basketball and baseball during his high school career. I especially remember our times on the baseball field.
He was a pitcher and I was a catcher so we worked a lot together. During the summer we both played for the old Crescent City Blues, which was a team for high school players. We traveled all over Southern Oregon, playing whoever would play us. We kind of broke tradition in that we wore bright blue uniforms. Everybody we played had some comment about them, as all of our opponents wore the traditional gray or white, which was the standard of the day.
Henry was not only an excellent athlete, but also an excellent student. He regularly was on the honor roll and often in the California Scholarship Federation. Hank also held class and student body offices. He was the student body vice president during his junior year. He also played in the school band and orchestra and was very active in the “D” Club, which was the school’s letterman club.
During Hank’s senior year, Chuck DeAutremont took over as the Warriors football head coach. Chuck was a graduate of Southern Oregon College in Ashland, where he had been a standout athlete in three sports. He helped Hank get into Southern Oregon, where Hank was able to continue his football career. When I last made contact with Hank he was living in the Medford area and enjoying retirement.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.