By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Only Mother Nature could contain the Del Norte High varsity football team Friday evening.
The explosive Warriors made it a memorable homecoming at Mike Whalen Field by cruising to a 50-6 win over Fortuna to go to 7-0 for the year and 5-0 in the Big 5 Conference.
Fortuna dropped to 3-4 overall.
Using its potent running and passing game and tough defense, Del Norte dominated all night.
And despite reports that it could rainand pretty hard to boot the weather was fairly clear and pleasant for homecoming. Well, almost all of it.
The homecoming queen was crowned and fireworks went off at halftime. While there was some apparent clouds on the horizon, it appeared the game could end rain free.
But the weather gods had other plans.
At the end of the third quarter, with 19 seconds left, Fortuna finally scored to make it 50-6.
That's about the time the rain came down by the bucketfull..
As items flew throughout the field and people quickly wrapped themselves up in rain coats and other rain protection gear, the football players kept on playing in the heavy rain as the the ironically perfect song by Creedence Clearwater Revival"Have You Ever Seen the Rain" blared on the sound system.
With 8:57 left in the fourth quarter, a flash of lightning filled the air, followed by the crackle of thunder.
The referees looked at each other and knew they had to end the game.
In nearly 20 years of coaching in the high school ranks, Warrior head coach Lewis Nova said he never had a game end early because of lightning but said that "tonight it was a blessing. That water was coming down hard." He added he planned "to go home and get dry."
Before the rain came, the Warriors put on quite a show for the stadium packed full of fans who watched Del Norte show why they are on the right track to make another march in the North Coast Section playoffs next month. The team won two playoffs games last year at home in 2006.
"I thought we played well," Nova said. "We came out and executed well. It was a great night."
Senior quarterback Chad Freeman was nothing short of amazing on Friday. After throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, and running one in for a score against Eureka last week, he was at it again against the Huskies.
Freeman threw for three touchdowns and ran in for two more exploding for an 67-yard run, where he busted out of the backfield and with great blocking by his offensive line, ran it all the way into the end zone as the crowd went wild.
Senior Trevor Rook had an outstanding game on both sides of the ball. As a running back, he rumbled for 103 yards on 10 carries and scored on a 27-yard run. He also was quite a presence at defensive back, thoroughly covering the Husky receivers all night.
In one memorable play, Rook leapt up in the air and picked the ball away from the receiver.
Junior Tanner Brown rushed for 56 yards as a running back and was a formidable player on the defense, pressuring the quarterback all night, including getting a sack for an 8-yard loss. Hoffman caught three balls for 50 yards and two scores. Del Norte had 318 yards of total offense
From the start of the game, the Huskies seemed bewildered and unable to do anything against Del Norte.
Fortuna tried to be creative on the very first play of the game by attempting an onside kick, but it failed and Del Norte marched down for the score when Freeman connected with Hoffman less than two minutes into the game.
It only got worse for the Huskies, who were unable to do much of anything on offense.
While there were a few plays that they moved the ball down the field, they could never get near the end zone until the third quarter. And by the end of the first quarter the Warriors had the score at 29-0. By the end of the half, the score was 43-0.
In the junior varsity game, Del Norte came back from being down 14-6 with less than a minute left to tie Fortuna 14-14 to go to 2-2-2 for the year.
Quarterback Thor Hadfield ran the ball into the end zone on a quarterback sneak and Shane Endamano scored on the 2-point conversion
On defense, Roy Ward made an interception and ran the ball in for the score. Head coach Steve Luis said Colton Copper was great on defense, including making a fumble recovery.