One of my favorite things about being able to write these articles is looking back at teammates and friends who I had the privilege of competing with as a Warrior.
Steve Matthews, a 1952 Del Norte graduate, was one of those special friends. Steve started his Warrior athletic career in the spring of his freshman year when he joined the track team as a distance runner. He ran the mile - something he did all four years.
Track is also where I first got to know Steve since I was a sophomore running the mile against him every day.
Steve did not start his football career until his junior year. He
turned out for football as Chuck DeAutremont was starting his second
year leading the Warriors, Steve was a quiet young man but he was quick,
strong and aggressive, and while he had little experience he soon
earned a starting position on the defensive line and he was good.
I played defensive end right next to him and it was fun. As a senior
Steve was voted by his teammates as the Most Inspirational Player and
was also elected captain of the football team.
I was playing my freshman year at Humboldt State and the coach, Phil
Sarbor, would regularly ask me what we could do to get Steve to attend
there. We tried but couldn't get him.
Steve was also active in student body activities and was selected as
Del Norte's Boys State representative after his junior year. Steve also
served as student body president during the first semester of his senior
year. He was also active in "D" Club.
Another area where Steve was outstanding was in the boxing ring. When
Chuck DeAutremont took over as the Warrior head coach, he realized that
money needed to be raised to upgrade Del Norte's athletic equipment, so
he started putting on boxing smokers.
These events would fill the high school gym. Chuck would match
students of equal abilities and they would fight three 1-minute rounds.
With the help of Dale and Sandy Patterson, these became very popular
events and raised a lot of money for the athletic program.
When Steve entered the ring it became obvious very quickly that this
was something he was very good at and it became very difficult to find
someone who would enter the ring with him.
After his senior football season, Steve took those boxing skills to
Eureka, where he had a successful amateur career.
After graduation I lost track of Steve, but was able to have a chance
to talk to him at a high school reunion several years ago. He said
after graduation he went into the service then went to work on the East
Coast. At the time I talked to him he looked like he could still put on
the pads or enter the ring and he still had the wonderful smile he was
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.