After shocking Justin-Siena in the first round, the Del Norte High football team hopes it has another upset in it.
The No. 11-seeded Warriors (5-6) will head south on Saturday for their North Coast Sectional quarterfinal match-up in Healdsburg against the No. 3 Greyhounds (6-4).
Del Norte is pretty familiar with Healdsburg, having traveled down to play the Greyhounds in the third game of the 2012 season. The Warriors won, 20-14.
Healdsburg brings back 16 seniors from that team. The Greyhounds were supposed to complete the home and away series this year with a trip to Del Norte, but canceled the trip.
“Healdsburg is a team that we are familiar with,” Rook said. “They seem to have some good team speed. They have beaten some good teams down in the Sonoma County League this year. They are a good football team.”
Defensively, Del Norte will need to be ready for both the run and the pass.
“They want to throw the ball a little bit,” Rook said. “They run open sets. But they do have a good little running back that they try to get into space.”
The Warriors will need to make good open field tackles and surround the ball carrier whenever possible.
“Trying to get several hats to the ball is going to be huge,” Rook said. “That is something that the kids take pride in doing. We are also probably going to run into one-on-one coverage, so we will have to be able to defend that when it happens.”
When the Warriors have the ball, Rook is hoping that Del Norte can have similar success to what it enjoyed last week in Napa.
“Offensively, we just need to continue to do what we do,” Rook said. “One key point for us last week was we were able to pick up first downs on kind of a consistent basis. That was big for us, to be able to control the ball a little bit. Then we had a couple big plays. That was kind of the missing element all year, and it came last week. Hopefully we can do it again this week.”
The Greyhounds’ defense will also try to counter by getting a lot of defenders around the football.
“Defensively, they are very aggressive,” Rook said. “They want to take advantage of you by being aggressive. They run a lot of people to the ball, similar to our style of defense.”
The Warriors and Greyhounds have one common opponent this season in Fortuna. Fortuna beat Healdsburg 14-7 in the first game of the season. Fortuna also beat Del Norte 14-7 in the team’s first meeting this year. Fortuna was able to pull away with 21 points in a two-minute stretch to beat the Warriors 34-12 the second time around.