By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY A magical regular season ended with a 9-0 mark, and for the third straight year, the Big 5 Conference title for the Del Norte Warriors varsity football team.
Friday night, the Warriors defeated McKinleyville 42-6 in front of the home crowd at Mike Whalen Field.
While Del Norte did not play its sharpest game against the winless Pantherstoo many penalties- including three in a row that caused a visibly upset Lewis Nova, head coach of the Warriors, to call a time out and personally talk to his players on the field.
The win put the Warriors in a great position for a high seed in the North Coast Section playoffs.
The Warriors will find out who and where they will be playing in the the eight playoff team Redwood section on Nov 11. with games starting on Nov. 16. Nova said he expects them to be home for the first game.
Although the rest of the Big 5 will have one more week of regular season play, Del Norte will be off and able to get ready for the playoffs.
For Nova, it has been a memorable season so far for his team and said he is proud of the way they have focused, played as a team and achieved their goals to this point of the season.
Senior quarterback Chad Freeman capped off a terrific regular season with another good performance. He went 14-for-18 for 167 yards and two throwing touchdowns.
Junior wide receiver Cody Hoffman had seven catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Senior tight end Saxon Schultz had four catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Senior running back Trevor Rook ran the ball for 42 yards and two touchdowns. He left in the second quarter with a bruised knee and did not return. Nova said it appeared the injury was not too serious.
Junior Tanner Brown ran for 45 yards, including a nice 33-yard scamper in the second half, following nice blocks by his offensive line into the endzone.
While Nova was happy with the win, he was not happy with the number of penalties his team had and not playing as sharp or as focused the past two weeks.
He said his team needs to start over again, practice hard and be ready to play well
in the playoffs.
All the teams will be good and will exploit mistakes and penalties, which can not happen if the Warriors want to go far in the NCS. The ultimate goal is of playing on Dec. 1 for the section title in Oakland, Nova said.
andquot;You can't play that way,andquot; he said. andquot;We can't get stalled down on drives by having penalties and hurting ourselves.andquot;
Nova told his team they needed to find themselves again as a team and be ready to play, and emphasized the importance of always playing as a team.
andquot;We don't get there as individuals,andquot; Nova said.
In the first half, Del Norte was able to get 28-points on the board, and while not as sharp as earlier games in the season, played well enough not to let the Panthers get on the scoreboard. When McKinleyville did threaten, they could not capitalize.
In the second half, the Warriors continued to put points on the board. Finally with time running down in the fourth quarter, the Panthers were able to throw the ball in the endzone for the score, improving from when the two teams first met on Sept. 21.
In that game, Del Norte thoroughly dominated the contest, winning 54-0.
Del Norte 42 McKinleyville 6
at Del Norte High School
Del Norte ..............14 14 7 7
McKinleyville........ 0 0 0 6
DN-Rook 1-yard run (Bruder kick) 10:07
DN-Rook 4-yard run (Bruder kick) 4:33
DN-Freeman 11-yard pass to Hoffman (Bruder kick) 2:56
DN-Freeman 8-yard pass to Schultz (Bruder kick) 0:34
DN-Brown 33-yard run (Bruder kick) 9:22
DN-Wakefield 3-yard run (Bruder kick) 8:54
M-K. Johnson 20-yard pass to A. Johnson (kick missed)