By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The sound of whistles blowing, pads smashing into each other and balls being caught filled the air at Del Norte High School.
Monday was the first day of two-a-day practices for the Warrior's varsity football team, which is coming off the best season in school history.
The team went undefeated in the Big 5 Conference and won two North Coast Section playoff games before falling to Novato.
Del Norte opens the season on Sept. 7 at Brookings.
It may have only been the first day, but players were already showing intensity and focus as coaches instructed them¬Ėfrom how to block on the offensive line, how to rush the passer on defense, to catching the ball.
Head coach Lewis Nova said he's excited to have the team back on the field once again, and to see the excitement and enthusiasm for the upcoming season from both the players and coaching staff.
This is the time for players to step-up and compete for starting roster spots and to show the staff "what they are willing and able to do," Nova said.
On Friday, the team will host its annual intrasquad Blue-Gold scrimmage at Mike Whalen Field at 5 p.m. Nova said it's a great chance for "the kids to compete in full uniform."
Senior Jake Young, who plays guard on offense and tackle on defense is pumped-up and excited to start football practices again.
"It feels great," he said. "I look forward to it every year. It's something I love to do."
He added he and his teammates are focused and determined "to go farther" this year than they did last year, and to take their games to the next level.
On Aug. 31, the team will take part in the varsity football Jamboree. The yearly event gives the Warriors a chance to run 10 plays against each team from the Big 5 on offense, and to test the defense against the other teams offense.
Nova said it gives his squad a chance to see the other league members and to face competition besides their own teammates before the season begins. The Jamboree will be held at 5 p.m. at Fortuna High School. The freshman and junior varsity squads will have their Jamboree the same day and time at Eureka High School. Both teams began their two-a-days on Monday.
Schedule for the varsity and junior varsity football teams.
Sept 7: At Brookings, JV, 5p.m., varsity, 7 p.m., tentative.
Sept. 14: At home against Hidden Valley, Ore., JV 5 p.m., varsity, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: At McKinleyville, JV at 5 p.m., varsity, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 28: At Fortuna, JV, 5 p.m., varsity 7 p.m.
Oct. 5: At home against Arcata, JV, 5 p.m, varsity, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12: At Eureka, JV, 5 p.m. varsity, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19: At home against Fortuna, JV, 5 p.m., varsity, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26, At Arcata, JV, 5 p.m., varsity, 7 p.m.
Nov. 2 At home against McKinleyville, JV, 5 p.m., varsity 7 p.m.