By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY At a game below 500, Del Norte High boys varsity soccer coach Gilberto Gil Rodriguez preached to his team the importance of coming out sharp in the second half of the season if they wanted to fulfill their goal of earning a spot in the North Coast Section playoffs.
The Warriors paid heed to their coach and have won three straight games to keep their dream alive.
The latest victory occurred at home on Wednesday against conference rival Fortuna, who defeated the Warriors 3-1 on the road on Sept. 15.
Gil Rodriguez said he and his team believe that poor officiating calls helped contribute to that loss. The Warriors knew that "they had something to prove," he said.
On Wednesday, Del Norte pulled off the huge 4-2 win in front of a group of cheering fans at home. The win boosted the Warriors to 6-4 for the year.
Despite an ear infection, Nolan Harnden was clutch for the Warriors, scoring two goals, one tying the game at two each, and the second to put the Warriors ahead for good. Enrique Leal had a strong game and also scored two goals.
"It feels really good," Gil Rodriguez said, adding he was proud of his squad's tenacity and will to win. "For us every game is the finals. We want to win."
Del Norte struck first when at about the 18th minute, Leal scored from an assist by Kyler Davis.
In the 37th minute, Fortuna was able to benefit from a penalty kick and put the ball in the goal to tie the game up at one apiece, which was the score at the half.
In the second half, Del Norte came out moving the ball down the field, making crisp passes to one another, finding the open man and earning scoring chances.
But the ball could not seem to land in the goal.
Another penalty kick gave Fortuna a golden opportunity to take the lead. They did not let the chance pass them by and made the goal to give the Huskies the 2-1 lead.
Del Norte did not get discouraged and continued to hammer the ball down the field.
The Warriors finally got a clear chance to score when they were given a penalty kick on a call against the Huskies, with Harnden kicking the ball.
Before the kick was attempted, a fan commented to a friend next to him that Harnden needed to keep the ball on the ground.
He obliged and kicked a nice shot to the right corner of the goal that went in to tie the game as enthusiastic teammates congratulated him.
But Harnden was not yet done. A few minutes later, on a free kick play, he was near the goal again and got the ball in to give Del Norte the lead.
"Don't give this away Warriors," a fan shouted to the field.
Del Norte obliged the request and put the icing on the victory when Leal kicked the ball in a few minutes later to give the Warriors the 4-2 lead.
Gil Rodriguez said he was ecstatic with the way his team played.
He was happy with how everyone worked as a unit to look for the open man, played sound defense and made sure they walked away with the needed win.
"They all played together as a team" Gil Rodriguez said.
Del Norte next plays on the road on Saturday against Arcata.