When I first started attending Warrior basketball games in the 1940s, the high school was still located on the corner of 9th and A streets.
All high school basketball games were played in what is now the Recreation Department gym, and the school colors were still red and white. Hanging on the wall on the west end of the gym was the red and white blanket with the names of former Warriors that had been selected by their teammates as “most inspirational senior” for football, basketball, baseball and track.
Through the years I have had the privilege of getting to know most of those listed on the blanket. There was one I never got to meet until he was nominated and inducted into the Del Norte Hall of Fame.
That is 1939 graduate Archie Thompson. Archie’s name appears on the blanket for basketball.
When I first met Archie at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony he was in his 90s and had a warm, friendly way about him that made me wish he had been my teammate or that I would have had the opportunity to meet him earlier.
Archie was a multi-sport athlete, but basketball was his specialty. During his first three years of high school he played on the Warrior lightweights and as a junior was one of the league’s top scorers and helped Del Norte to a 27-24 upset of Arcata.
As a senior playing forward for the varsity he helped the Warriors defeat Eureka 43-24.
This was a big win. We all remember how hard it was to beat the Loggers since their enrollment was three to four times greater than the other schools in the league.
As a junior Archie joined the “D” Club, which was one of the most active student groups on campus. There he joined up with former Warrior greats like Chub Howe, Ray Mattz, Rocky Peterson and Clyde Stowers to make the high school a better place for all students.
A couple of weeks ago, Archie had an accident that took him to the emergency room for a period of time. There I was able to visit with Archie and members of his family. He has a great supporting family that was really impressive.
Archie may have been hurting, but the warm friendly smile that was there when I first met Archie was still there. He truly is a special Warrior.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High sports. He played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, later serving as the school’s football coach for a number of years.