Warriors WR Porter catches 2 TD passes in loss
Amid the fireworks, tiaras, sashes and the Cadillac limousine, the Del Norte High football team's defense was the talk of Homecoming early on.
The Warriors took a 7-0 lead over Arcata into the halftime locker room on Friday night at Mike Whalen Field brimming with confidence.
In response, Tigers junior running back Tyler Keil flipped the script in a big way.
Keil rushed for 217 yards and four touchdowns in the third quarter alone as Arcata beat Del Norte, 33-22, for the first time in 13 games.
Keil capped the victory with a 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to boost Arcata to a 4-1 record (2-0 Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 League). The Tigers carried the ball 37 times for 314 yards against the Warriors, with 287 coming in the second half.
Del Norte quarterback Dylan Pease completed 19-of-32 passes for 292 yards, with two touchdowns - both to Warriors wide receiver Nathan Porter - and two interceptions. Pease's biggest targets on the night were Porter (five catches, 84 yards) and junior wide receiver Aaron Fitch (six catches, 130 yards).
The Warriors (2-3 overall, 1-1 Big 5) benefited from three first-half mistakes by the Tigers: an early fumble (recovered by sophomore Chad Bell), an illegal substitution penalty on a fourth-and-2 and a 14-yard punt. Four plays after the short punt, Pease completed a 20-yard pass to Porter for the lone score of the first half.
Arcata did not cross midfield until the final 30 seconds of the first half. Warriors defensive back Matthew Lesh intercepted Tigers quarterback Chad Blickenstaff to end the half, imploring the crowd to make noise after he was downed. Del Norte had momentum in its favor in an emotionally charged game.
Keil took the third play of the second half 55 yards to the end zone, and Blickenstaff found tight end Connor Cox to give Arcata an 8-7 lead. Porter responded with his second touchdown reception of the night, a 60-yard catch-and-run.
Keil promptly took over with rushing touchdowns of 6, 69 and 43 yards, benefiting from misdirection, sweep and counter plays that Del Norte had no answer for.
Porter added a 21-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the Warriors a 16-14 lead, the last instance in which Del Norte held the lead. Jackson Evans scored the Warriors' final points on a 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Del Norte JV 48, Arcata JV 7
The Warriors junior varsity team improved its record to 4-1 overall on the year, rushing out to a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a victory over the Tigers.
Del Norte sophomore Anthony Jackson returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and added a rushing touchdown in the second quarter. Warriors quarterback Steven Maready threw two touchdown passes and ran in for a third score.
Sophomore Cody Alarcon scored two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) and sophomore Victor De Los Santos blocked a punt and caught a touchdown pass. Aaron Keeton's 43-yard touchdown run with 1:52 remaining in the third quarter would become Del Norte's final scoring play.
Reach Robert Husseman at email@example.com.