By Dick Trone
In 1939 the Del Norte High School Board of Education dropped 11-man football from the school's athletic program. In its place they adopted six-man football. The reason for this was the decline in the male enrollment at the high school.
The 1941 graduating class only had 16 boys. Many young men were enlisting in the U.S. Military as soon as they were old enough.
The team was coached by Del Norte High School's first coach, Ed Fraser. Coach Fraser explained to the other schools that the Warriors were just too small to compete. Many schools in leagues to the south had already adopted the six man format.
I know when I lived in Lakeport before moving to Crescent City, my father coached at the high school there and that entire league played six-man football. For a long time growing up I didn't know there was another kind of game. Fortuna, which was a member of the Humboldt-Del Norte league had dropped football entirely at that time.
The six man game was a wide open affair. There were three lineman and three backs. Everybody was an eligible receiver. The ball had to change hands in the backfield before it could be advanced. The modern T-formation was not a part of the picture.
Nick Gargaetas, the middle of the three Gargaetas boys, was the center on that team. He liked it because the center could catch passes. Everyone played both ways, there was no platooning in those days.When I look back, there was no platooning in the 11-man game either. Nick was selected the most outstanding player that year. Some fans might remember the red and white blanket that hung for years on the gym wall. It read "1941 football Nick Gargaetas."
It was interesting when I read the last will and testament of the 1941 senior class. Two of the members of the 1940 football team left things to young men that those of us who have followed the Warriors remember well.
George Chase, an outstanding athlete through his entire career, left his good nature and place on the football team to Archie Gargaetas. We all know how well Archie used his gift.
Paul Maris, another Warrior standout left his nickname "Farmer" to another person Warrior supporters learned to respect, James Yarbrough. I don't know what he did with the name, but I sure know what else he didowned the Triplicate.
Other seniors that played on that team that some old timers probably remember, were Walter Ferrando, Paul Jepsen, William Marshall, Robert Bruce Moore and Robert Robson. The class of 1941 may have had only 40 boys and girls, but it was sure fun for me to look back at it.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, 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. Currently, he is head coach of the South Coast Storm semi-pro football team, formerly called the Siskiyou Savages.