By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY A week of homecoming festivities culminates tonight, when the Del Norte High Varsity football team take to the field against Fortuna.
The Warriors have been nothing but impressive this season, chalking up a 6-0 mark overall and being 4-0 in the Big 5 Conference.
Wins include a 39-6 triumph over Fortuna on the road Sept. 28.
Head coach Lewis Nova said he and his coaching staff are emphasizing the importance of the team keeping focused this week.
While Nova said homecoming week is always "fun," it can also be a distraction for the players, so it's important to tell them to remain set on the task at handdefeat Fortuna.
"We don't want to overlook somebody," Nova said, adding even though the Warriors defeated the Huskies this year, it's always dangerous to overlook a team.
And, he said, his squad needs to think about the North Coast Section playoffs. Winning their final three regular season can go a long way in getting a high seed and get to play games at home.
With teams in the section like Healdsburg having great seasons, Nova said every game counts.
Healdsburg, which is undefeated, played last week on the road and won 48-7.
Their opponent? Fortuna.
Nova said he and his coaches have been emphasizing to the players "how valuable the home field advantage is."
Many teams in the section play on artificial turf, and it will be a benefit for the Warriors to get them up to Del Norte on their grass field in front of the home crowd. Last year's two playoff wins were at home.
If homecoming wasn't enough, Del Norte may also need to contend with rain showers tonight. Steady rains have been occurring throughout the week, which could mean wet, rainy and muddy conditions at Mike Whalen Field.
Although you never know.
Fans may be wise to bring an umbrella or two and a parka with them.
But, Nova said, his team knows playing in rainy weather just goes with playing football. He added that it helps that the game is at home and "we're good at running," which helps in wet and slippery weather conditions, when throwing the ball can be more of a challenge.
Nova said his team plans to continue to run, which has been more than efficient this year, with running backs Trevor Rook, Matt Wakefield and Joseph Alexandre causing major problems.
Against Eureka last week, Del Norte ran for 202 yards total.
And in their first game against Fortuna, the running backs went wild, rushing for 506 yards.
Nova said it's also nice to have weapons at quarterback and wide receiver, to go along with a strong running game.
Against Eureka, senior quarterback Chad Freeman passed for three touchdowns and one running touchdown and wide receiver Cody Hoffman had seven receptions and a touchdown.
On defense, Nova said his team has to continue to not give the opposing team time to throw or gain much yardage.
The defense has delivered the goods this year, allowing only 39 total points and two shutouts.
Junior Taylor Duncan, a starter at wide receiver and on defense, said the homecoming game is always exciting and the team is ready to go out and do what they have been doing all season.
"It's a big game," he said. "It will be fun," and adding the squad understands the importance of winning the rest of its game and gaining home field advantage in the playoffs.
"It's our field. It's our crowd. That's always good to have," he said.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. at Mike Whalen Field.
The homecoming queen will be named at half time.
At 5 p.m., the junior varsity team will play.