In the early 1980s longtime legendary coach Tex Gatlin had the fun and pleasure of picking what was called the Dream Team of the 1950s.
If you could have put all of these players together on one team they would have been very hard to beat. One of those picked for that mythical unit was
1960 Del Norte graduate Kenny Mattz.
The 1959 team in Kenny’s senior year was the first-ever Del Norte football team to win the Humboldt-Del Norte League Championship. It is fun to write about Kenny because he was not only an outstanding three-sport Warrior, but he is also the son of my all-time favorite sport Warriors, Ray Mattz.
Ray probably attended more Del Norte athletic events than anyone I know of. Kenny is kind of following in his Dad’s footsteps as you can seldom attend a Warrior game without seeing Kenny there. There is one big difference in that Kenny is seen but not heard.
In 1956, when football season started in Ken’s freshman year, he was there. He played JV football during his freshman and sophomore years, then joined the varsity team during junior and senior years. As a junior he helped the Warriors to a second-place finish in the HDN. In his senior year, as a member of Del Norte’s first football championship, Ken was selected all-conference.
When football was over he turned to the hardwoods and as a freshman and sophomore played lightweight basketball under coach Wally Maciel. He moved to the varsity team as a junior. Kenny was a four-year member of the Warrior baseball team, where he had an outstanding career. Baseball was a Mattz tradition.
It is always a pleasure to see Kenny with that great smile on his face. It is easy to see why his classmates voted him as the senior boy with the best personality.
It has been awhile since the 1959 football season, but when you see Ken he still looks like you could hand him the ball for a long run.
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.