With the first day of school taking place at Del Norte High School this week, it brought back a lot of memories.
It had been a dream of mine since my junior year in high school to coach football here at Del Norte, so it was a dream come true when I was able to come back. Having been away for 19 years coaching in Yucca Valley, located in the Southern California desert, returning here was like a whole new experience.
Coaching for a long time in one place you really get to know the young people you are getting to work with, many you have known since their early elementary school days. Returning here, what I found was a great group of young men and women who were eager to learn and be successful.
Also, one of the coaches that I was working with was a former teammate of mine at Humboldt State. Dale Thomas is a person I have great respect for. He has years of experience as an assistant and as a head coach.
It did not take long to get acquainted with the young men on the field. One I will always remember fondly was Reece Stacey, the team’s quarterback. He had taken over the starting varsity position as a freshman, which is unheard of, and now as a sophomore was becoming a team leader.
Reece was a tough young man with a lot of athletic talent. While the 1980 season wasn’t real successful, Reece got better and better and as a senior led the team to a league championship and its first trip to the North Coast Section Playoffs.
As the 1980 season went on, I became really impressed with the work ethic of players like Doug Donaldson, a senior running back who was an All League White Star winner; Kurt Van Dyke, who was an outstanding lineman; Brett May, Kris Otterbach, Lance Lopez, Brett Sanderson, Joe Gutierrez, Steve Metcalf, Troy Duncan and all the young men that stuck out a tough season.
This group made me realize that coming back to Del Norte was the right decision. They set the tone for many years to come and now, though that I am long retired, I always look forward to the start of another Warrior year. Warrior blood will always run through my veins.
Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.