Fall to top-seeded Wildcats 32-0
Del Norte High went toe-to-toe against Bay Area power Marin Catholic on Saturday in the first quarter but could not keep it up the rest of the way.
Del Norte High Warrior head coach Ray Rook hugs senior Branden Hensel after Del Norte lost to Marin Catholic 32-0 on Saturday in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy of John Pritchett
Facing the top-seeded and undefeated Wildcats, the Warriors lost 32-0 in the first round of the Northcoast Section Division III football playoffs on Saturday in Kentfield in the Bay Area. The Warriors were the final seed at No. 16.
“We went in and competed,” Warriors head coach Ray Rook said. “I’m really proud of them. They never quit.”
The Warriors and Wildcats could not get the ball into the endzone in the first quarter, although Del Norte had scoring chances.
Thing did not go the Wildcats way to start off.
Quarterback Chris Tewill fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Marin Catholic. They were then called for offsides and had two incomplete passes, stalling the opening drive.
On the Warrior’s first possession, they started with excellent field position around midfield. On the first offensive play, senior signal caller Layton O’Reilley found senior Brandon Kakitsuka for a 30-yard gain. The Warriors made it to the 12-yard line of the Wildcats and were picked off.
The Del Norte defense was excellent, stoping the formidable Wildcat offense with three straight three-and-outs.
In the second quarter, Marin Catholic woke up and scored three times, including a 72-yard run by Tewill. The Wildcats could not make two extra points and a two-point conversion attempt, as the half ended 18-0 in their favor.
At the end of the second quarter Del Norte drove down the field and made it to the 8-yard line of the Wildcats. But, again, the Warriors were picked off for the third time in the half.
In the second half, Marin Catholic scored once at the end of the third quarter and once at the end of the fourth to earn the 32-0 shutout.
Bronson Richards, front, of Del Norte High, helps tackle Marin Catholic quarterback Chris Tewhill on Saturday in Kentfield in the Bay Area on Saturday. Del Norte lost to the Wildcats 32-0. Photo courtesy of John Pritchett
Del Norte finished the game with 195 total yards for its smallest offensive output of the season.
Kakitsuka had 78 total yards and junior running back Collin Taylor had 67 total yards.
The Wildcats finished with 402 total yards, including 220 rushing yards.
Del Norte ended the season 4-7, while Marin Catholic improved to 11-0.
“There was no doubt Marin Catholic was as good as we thought,” Rook said. “As the game wore on Marin Catholic tried to overwhelm us with their size and strength. The great thing is that our kids would not let them. They just continued to compete on each down. Our kids truly tried to win each down as they have all year, all the way to the last play of the game. “
“It was very emotional, bittersweet,” Rook said about how he felt as the game wound down. “I fought tears most of the last five to six minutes of the fourth quarter, and after the game.”
Overall, Rook said that it was a great experience for his fairly young team to take part in an NCS playoff game. Del Norte will lose nine seniors from this year’s squad.
“It was an irreplaceable experience as we will continue to build our football program,” Rook said.
The rest of the Del Norte-Humboldt Conference fared well in the NCS over the weekend.
Friday night, fellow Big 3 Conference member Fortuna defeated Valley Christian 36-14 at home in the Division IV playoffs.
In Division III, Big 3 champ and defending Division II champ Eureka defeated Petaluma 35-0 at home on Saturday.
Little 4 members Ferndale and St Bernard’s also won. Hoopa had a first-round bye.