It’s always fun to look back at the young men that you have had the privilege of coaching and see what they did while Warriors and what they are doing now. Gene Mitchell, a 1988 Del Norte Warrior graduate, is one of these.
When he entered high school in the fall of 1984, he joined the Warrior junior varsity football team and showed what a valuable addition he was going to be.
He started out as the JV starting quarterback, a tough job to undertake as a freshman. He held onto that position through his sophomore year.
When he moved to the varsity team as a junior he found the varsity quarterback position was being held down by Blaine Lopez, who was proving to be one of the best Warrior quarterbacks ever.
Gene had the great competitive attitude that coaches love. He made sure he was ready to be our backup QB if needed, but he was such a good athlete we moved him to the starting tight end.
This was a position that was really crucial in our pass-oriented offense. Blaine was on his way to setting a new league passing record.
One game that always comes to mind when thinking about Gene is our last game of Gene’s junior year.
We were playing at Fortuna, which had clinched the league title but needed to beat Del Norte to secure a home game in the playoffs.
With only a little over one minute to go in the fourth quarter and Fortuna leading by less than a touchdown, Blaine threw a little swing pass to Max Keyes. Gene ran straight down the field and Max fired him a strike for the touchdown and the win.
Gene also left his mark on the basketball court. He played for the junior varsity as a freshman and sophomore, then became a very important part of two good varsity teams in his junior and senior years.
After graduation Gene became a correctional officer at Pelican Bay. One of the things I respect most about this young man is his unselfish volunteering of his time to work as an assistant for the Warrior JV football team.
It is great to see former Del Norters share their knowledge and experience with our youth. Gene Mitchell is a true and valuable member of the Warrior family, and one I really respect.
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.