Up 14-0 in the fourth, DN loses game 15-14
Never count your football games until they’re over.
The Del Norte High Warriors were up 14-0 in the fourth quarter against Fortuna Friday night and appeared to be heading to the win. The Huskies had other plans and proceeded to score twice, including adding a two-point conversion for the 15-14 win in the regular season finale.
Even with the loss there is a good chance the 4-6 Warriors will earn a berth in the Northcoast Section playoffs, which will be announced on Sunday, head coach Ray Rook said.
“They gave it their heart,” Rook said. “They played hard, but it’s the little dynamics of the game that need to go our way that didn’t, and that hurt us. .... We gave up two huge plays.”
The Warriors also had three turnovers, two fumbles and an interception in the first half. This included a pick in the endzone when it looked like the Warriors would cash it in for the score on that drive. A huge factor in the first half was T.J. Scott.
The senior caught a pass from quarterback Layton O’Reilley and went 82 yards for the first score with 8:10 left in the second quarter.
He also had two sacks and a huge fumble recovery in the second quarter.
After the Warriors fumbled around their own 26-yard line, Scott returned the favor a short time later and recovered the ball around the 15-yard line of Del Norte.
Near the end of the half O’Reilley connected with Brandon Kakitsuka from six yards
Unfortunately, Del Norte could not hold on in the fourth quarter as the Huskies scored on two runs form around the one-yard line by their quarterback, Brady Shaha. On the second score with 2:30 left, the Huskies went for a two-point conversion. The gamble payed off when they cashed it in and held on for the win.
The first time the two Big 3 Conference teams met on Oct. 22, Del Norte was up 21-20 when the Huskies scored with under two minutes left to earn the victory.
Rook told the team after the game he would submit them for consideration for the NCS playoffs, which begin next week. Several teams with only four wins made the NCS last season.
“You guys earned the right,” Rook told his team. “You came a long way this season.”
Before the game began, the nine Warriors seniors were honored.
At the ceremony handing out flowers to the players were family members of the late Steve Luis. Luis, the longtime Del Norte junior varsity coach, passed away from cancer in June. The family was presented with a plaque thanking them for everything Luis did for the Warriors football program.