By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The weekend warriors of the Siskiyou Savages semi-pro football team are donning their pads again for another season of gridiron play.
The Savages, in their fourth year of playing, begin the season at home Saturday evening against the Klamath Falls Crusaders.
Dick Trone, who coached the Del Norte High football team for many years, returns for his second year as head coach.
Trone is excited at the enthusiasm, athletic ability and talent his team possesses.
"I'm really looking forward to the season," he said, adding the team has looked good during practices. "I love the competitive attitude they have. Everyone does whatever it takes for us to be successful. They really know how to play as a team."
While the Savages practice at Del Norte High starting this season, all home games will be played at Brookings/Harbor High. Previously, home games were played in both Crescent City and Brookings.
Many of the players and coaches on the team live in Del Norte County or have roots in the area.
With semi-pro ball, a fat paycheck and other superficial pursuits certainly isn't the reason these men participate.
Instead, players are here for the love of the game. None are paid and all have other full-time duties, from raising a family to holding down jobs, but they have one thing in common a love and passion for football and wanting the chance to be able to go out and compete on the gridiron,
During the week, team members have normal 9-to-5 jobs like prison guard, police officer, member of the U.S. Coast Guard and even a doctor.
Several players have college experience at programs from Humboldt State to the University of San Diego, the University of Oregon and Boise State.
During games, if someone utters, "Is there a doctor in the house?" you may be surprised to know there will be one on the field and he's a player.
Tom Polidore, 47, is a general surgeon in Crescent City and decided to give semi-pro football a chance as a tight end and defensive player. He played in high school and was a walk-on for a year at Rutgers.
"I wanted to see if I could do it," he said.
Chris White, who mainly players wide receiver, plans to try out to play in the Arena Football League.
White played his college ball at Humboldt State alongside side his identical twin brother Nick, who is also on the Savages as a free safety.
Mike Zeck played college ball at the University of San Diego and at the UO.
With the Ducks, he was able to play with quarterback Joey Harrington and played in the Holiday Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Colorado.
He also coaches the running backs on the Del Norte High football team.
For him, it's great to still have the chance to be able to have the experience of playing football.
It's even better that a good friend of his from the University of San Diego, Quinn Closson, plays on the team as the starting tight end.
He travels from Vancouver, Wash., to play and practice on weekends
Offensive lineman Josh Halls played for Del Norte High and said it's nice to play in front of the fans of the area again.
"It's great. I love it," he said. "It's wonderful to get to hit again and hitting back."
Halls added he loves the bond that has formed with his fellow players and how, in football, everyone has to work together as a unit to be successful.