After the first week of practice, the Del Norte football program got its first chance this fall to show off its stuff at Mike Whalen Field during the annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage on Friday.

The scrimmage started out with the junior varsity squad, which has 45 players this season. After the JV offense and defense ran through a few series of plays, the Del Norte varsity squad took the field. Similar to last year, the Warriors have 25 players on the varsity roster at this point.

“We have a few JV sophomores up right now, and we are looking at them,” said Del Norte varsity head coach Lewis Nova. “We are going to need to keep some of them because we are going to be a low number team again this year. What that means is we need to minimize our mistakes and obviously we need to be in shape because a number of players will be going both ways and playing special teams.”

The Del Norte football team is coming off its second Humboldt-Del Norte Big 5 championship in three years, but many of the Warriors from last year’s squad have since graduated.

As the 2017 Warriors opened up practice this week, Nova said the team was back to the basics.

“We are drilling the base plays in more right now,” Nova said. “We need to make sure that we are solid with those. We have also been working a lot on getting them into shape and just working on the fundamentals a little bit more.”

Friday’s scrimmage was a chance for players’ families and other Del Norters to get their first glimpse of what is to come this fall. The Del Norte coaches also took advantage of the opportunity to inform the parents about the Del Norte football program.

“The Blue-Gold Scrimmage is just a chance to let the parents see them out here, and you get to hear them banging around a little bit,” Nova said. “We are trying to make a game-like feel, but it is hard when you know it is your teammate. We had a faster pace, though, and hopefully got them a little bit of the adrenaline. We are also getting them used to getting subbed in and performing right away — you can’t wait two plays before you start doing your job.”

The Warriors have their first week under their belts, but the season will only pick up pace from here.

Nova said the varsity team is planning on holding practices in the afternoons next week along with extra agility sessions in the morning with 2004 Del Norte graduate Ashley Goodman, who is an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Georgia Tech University.

“We are behind, but we will step it up here next week,” Nova said. “We have two weeks to get ready for our first game, and we have the Jamboree next week as well. We just need to get better next week, and we need to be in better shape.”

The HDN Jamboree will be held next Friday in McKinleyville. Del Norte will officially kick off its season at home on Aug. 25 against Central Valley. The season opener is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Del Norte will follow that up with road games in Yreka and Mazama, before wrapping up the non-conference season with a home game against Humboldt-Del Norte Little 4 foe St. Bernard’s.

Reach Michael Zogg a mzogg@triplicate.com.

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