One of my favorite things about being able to write these articles is looking back at teammates and friends who I had the privilege of competing with as a Warrior.
Steve Matthews, a 1952 Del Norte graduate, was one of those special friends. Steve started his Warrior athletic career in the spring of his freshman year when he joined the track team as a distance runner. He ran the mile — something he did all four years.
Track is also where I first got to know Steve since I was a sophomore running the mile against him every day.
Steve did not start his football career until his junior year. He turned out for football as Chuck DeAutremont was starting his second year leading the Warriors, Steve was a quiet young man but he was quick, strong and aggressive, and while he had little experience he soon earned a starting position on the defensive line and he was good.
I played defensive end right next to him and it was fun. As a senior Steve was voted by his teammates as the Most Inspirational Player and was also elected captain of the football team.
I was playing my freshman year at Humboldt State and the coach, Phil Sarbor, would regularly ask me what we could do to get Steve to attend there. We tried but couldn’t get him.
Steve was also active in student body activities and was selected as Del Norte’s Boys State representative after his junior year. Steve also served as student body president during the first semester of his senior year. He was also active in “D” Club.
Another area where Steve was outstanding was in the boxing ring. When Chuck DeAutremont took over as the Warrior head coach, he realized that money needed to be raised to upgrade Del Norte’s athletic equipment, so he started putting on boxing smokers.
These events would fill the high school gym. Chuck would match students of equal abilities and they would fight three 1-minute rounds. With the help of Dale and Sandy Patterson, these became very popular events and raised a lot of money for the athletic program.
When Steve entered the ring it became obvious very quickly that this was something he was very good at and it became very difficult to find someone who would enter the ring with him.
After his senior football season, Steve took those boxing skills to Eureka, where he had a successful amateur career.
After graduation I lost track of Steve, but was able to have a chance to talk to him at a high school reunion several years ago. He said after graduation he went into the service then went to work on the East Coast. At the time I talked to him he looked like he could still put on the pads or enter the ring and he still had the wonderful smile he was known for.
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 football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.