By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Tonight is the game Warrior coaches, players and fans have been clamoring for all year, as Del Norte High hits the road to take on Eureka in a crucial Big 5 Conference matchup.
Countless times over the years, the game has decided who earns the Big 5 title.
This year is no exception, with the Warriors sitting pretty at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 5.
Eureka is currently 2-3 and is playing its first conference game of the season.
andquot;It's a huge game that we really want to win,andquot; senior center Trevor Nimrod said. andquot;It's going to be my last time playing Eureka.andquot;
andquot;Everyone gets pumped up for this game,andquot; he added. andquot;It's one of the biggest games of the season... If we lose, we pretty much lose the league championship.andquot;
Eureka, a school of more than 1,500 students is a 3A school, compared to Del Norte, which has about 1,100 students and is a 2A school, as is the rest of the league.
Because of this, Eureka has played its first five games against larger schools, winning its last game against Vanden of Fairfield 54-29. And, the Loggers need to win all its games on the Big 5 schedule if it wants a chance at going to the playoffs.
andquot;It's been the biggest game the past few years,andquot; Warrior head coach Lewis Nova said. andquot;They're the big school on the block.We know what's at stakeandquot;
Nova said while his team has been quite successful this year and are getting healthy after a number of early season injuries, he knows they have to play their best game of the season against Eureka.
He said the Loggers are solid at all positions and have depth to boot.
Being a larger school with more students, the majority of players just play on either offense or defense, unlike Del Norte which has the vast majority of players playing both offense and defense.
Nova added the Eureka matchup always makes him nervous and said it will be a challenge playing at Eureka, but added that his team has been focused and knows what they have to do on Friday.
andquot;We've got to play error free football,andquot; Nova said, adding the team needs to make sure not to get penalties and turnovers that Eureka can capitalize on.
The Loggers have a number of players on both sides of the ball that are andquot;good size, and flow to the ball well,andquot; Nova said.
On offense, Nova said Eureka has a solid group of runners that can gain yardage. The team also does a nice job of throwing the ball and have tall wide receivers that can get up and grab the football.
Nova said the Warriors must quickly close the running gaps, not giving Eureka room to run. They also need to put pressure on the quarterback and not let them dictate the flow of the game.
This year, the defense has done an excellent job of not allowing much positive yardage from the opposing team.
For the season, teams have only had 25 points, and the Warriors have had two shutouts.
On offense, Nova said the Warriors will try to continue to run the ballwhich has been a strength all year.
Two weeks ago against Fortuna, they ran for 506 total yards and five touchdowns, and put up 289 yards last week against Arcata.
Running back Trevor Rook ran for 187 yards and three scores against the Tigers.
Nova said he know the Loggers will work hard to stop the run and said his offensive linemen need to continue to step up and open holes for the running game.
In throwing the ball, Del Norte has been efficient all year and have a veteran quarterback in Chad Freeman and a group of excellent receivers in Cody Hoffman and Taylor Duncan and tight end Saxon Schultz.
The contest begins at 7:30 p.m at Eureka High School, located at 1915 J Street. The junior varsity game is set for 5 p.m. Last week, the JV squad defeated Arcata 33-0.