By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
The juggernaut that is the Del Norte High football team maintained its undefeated record with a convincing win against Fortuna on the road Friday evening.
The victory brings the Warriors to 4-0 for the year and 2-0 in the Big 5 Conference.
"I feel great," Warrior head coach Lewis Nova said after the game, adding the team was able to execute what the coaches drew up in the game plan. "We were able to control the game."
As they have done every game this season, the Warriors were able to move down the field with ease during their first possession, gaining chunks of yardage on both the ground and through the air. After a face mask penalty, the Warriors were first and goal on the Fortuna 5-yard line.
Quarterback Chad Freeman was able to connect with wide receiver Cody Hoffman in the end zone to take the 6-0 lead. James Sampier made the point after to make it 7-0.
Fortuna started off well when on the kickoff return, Donovan Lange took the ball from the 12-yard line and ran the ball to the 47-yard line of Fortuna.
But the Huskies could not capitalize on the good field position, and the Warriors got the pigskin back.
On the next possession, the Warriors could not move the ball and punted.
Del Norte played pressuring defense, not giving Huskies quarterback Jason Johnson clear shots at his wide receivers and Fortuna could not move the ball down the field.
In the second quarter, on a third and 12 situation, Freeman fired a pass to Hoffman and got the first down on the Warriors 44-yard line. But on the next play, Freeman got sacked for a loss of nine yards.
But running back Matt Wakefield was able to break tackles and slammed down the field to give Del Norte a needed first down in Fortuna territory.
On the next play, Freeman was able to find an open hole and ran the ball to the Fortuna 28-yard line. Again, Freeman took the ball and got to the first-down mark.
On the next play, running back Trevor Rook found a open hole and rumbled to the 5-yard line.
The Warriors took advantage of being on the goal line and Rook took the ball from the two-yard line for the score to give the Warriors the 13-0 advantage. After extra point was made, Del Norte took a 14-0 lead
On the next possession, Fortuna was able to move the ball up to the midfield point.
But the Warriors' defense was able to hold the Huskies yet again and forced another Fortuna punt.
On a quarterback keeper, Freeman raced down the field for a 71-yard run all the way down to the 1-yard line.
On the next play, Freeman took the ball in for the score and after the point after Del Norte took a 21-0 lead with 2:02 left in half.
Near the end of the first half, the Huskies moved the ball to the Del Norte side of the field. But, as the Warriors had done throughout the game, Del Norte held Fortuna and took the 21-0 lead into the half.
The start of the second half did not start the way Del Norte would had liked. Taking a kickoff from the 20-yard line, the Huskies' Travis Sauers ran down the field on his way for an 80-yard touchdown. The Warriors blocked the extra point and the game was at 21-6.
The Warriors returned the favor on an unusual, but efficient play less than a minute after the Fortuna score.
Del Norte sent in wide receiver Hoffman at quarterback. He took the ball himself, found an opening and used his terrific speed to outrace the Fortuna defenders on his way to a 65-yard score. After the extra point was missed, De Norte had the 27-6 lead.
Nova said the play was designed to take advantage of the speed Hoffman possess and to "let his running ability take over," and added it was great to see the play executed the way it was drawn up.
Del Norte was not done yet. The Warrior scoring machine kept on rolling when Wakefield took the ball into the endzone from 7 yards out for the score. The point after was blocked and, Del Norte had a 33-6 lead.
The Huskies were able to get down all the way to the goal line. The Warriors were able to apply pressure on Johnson, knock the ball out and recover the fumble to keep Fortuna out of the endzone.
"They did a great job," Nova said. "The defense shut them out."
Near the end of the third quarter, Wakefield went off to the races and rumbled down 75 yards for a touchdown, showing that the Warriors can explode with their speed at any time. With a missed point after attempt, Del Norte had a 39-6 lead with 27 seconds left in the third.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors kept the ball on the ground, put in the reserves and ran the clock down to zero to secure the win.
For the game, the Warriors had more than 500 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
Wakefield rushed for 139 yards on seven carries and had two scores. Freeman rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Rook had 87 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Freeman went 5-for-15 with 59 yards and a touchdown through the air.
Hoffman caught three balls for 36 yards and a score.
The Warrior defense kept the Huskies to only 36 yards of total rushing yards on 11 carries. Fortuna went 19-for-40 in passing yards for 189 yards.
Next week, Del Norte returns home to play Arcata.
In junior varsity action, Del Norte fell to Fortuna 21-0. The Warriors are 1-2-1 for the year.