As a football coach, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every team that I have ever coached. You develop strong feelings for every team member.
Some of the teams were more interesting or more fun than others just because of the collection of personalities that some teams possess. Every one is different.
Last week, when I was writing about Gene Mitchell and the 1986 Warriors, it brought back a lot of really fond memories. I have always looked at this group as one of my all-time favorites, not because of the win-loss record, but because of their colorful personalities in the group. Included on that team were two future Warrior head coaches. One was Blaine Lopez, who is now the Warriors boys varsity basketball head coach. He had a record-setting season throwing the ball.
He set both the single game passing record and the single season passing record when he threw for over 300 yards against Eureka. His 2,206 yards for the season with 24 touchdowns placed him seventh in the state of California. I trusted Blaine so much that I let him call his own plays during the whole season. He was one of only two quarterbacks that I have let do that. He did an outstanding job.
The starting center on that team was Ray Rook. Warrior fans now look forward to the Warrior football team taking to the field with Ray in charge. He is starting his second season as the head coach. We can look forward to more great football as Ray is a hard-working, dedicated young man that provides great leadership to the program.
As I mentioned last week, Gene Mitchell is also on the Warrior football staff and one other member of the 1986 team as a member of the basketball program. Greg Yeager, who was an outstanding defensive end, is now Blaine Lopez’s varsity assistant coach.
Also on that team was Mike Sullivan. Mike was the starting fullback and a good one. We now recognize him as one of our county supervisors. The names that I have mentioned are just a few of who made this group so much fun.
Stacy McClaflin, a team captain, was one of the best offensive linemen I have ever had. Kevin Holben and Max Keyes were on the receiving end of a lot Blaine’s passes and there was Larry Howard, who always kept things loose.
The whole team holds a special place in my heart.
I also had three great assistants, Pablo Lorenzi, Lewis Nova and Henry Davis that kept me in line. The whole year was fun.
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.