Seniors lift program to new level

December 02, 2006 12:00 am

By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

For the 11 seniors on the Del Norte High football team, the final year of playing for the Warriors has been memorable.

The team won the Big 5 conference crown and has gone the furthest in the playoffs of any team in school history.

Today at 1:30 p.m., the Warriors play Novato High School on the road in the North Coast Section Class 2A football playoffs. If they win, Del Norte will head to the championship game in Oakland on Dec. 9.

"I'm proud of everything that's happened and what the team's become," said senior Matt Maltbie, who mainly plays on the offensive line. "We don't have any major freak athletes, but we play as a team and we win as a team ... Everyone's always ready to step up and make a play when it's needed."

To Maltbie, that has occurred throughout the year, but especially in this year's playoffs when the Warriors were able to come from behind or hang on for the victory in the final seconds.

The seniors should have a sense of pride knowing they have been part of a team that has won two conference titles and has gone the furthest of any Warriors football team, Head Coach Lewis Nova said.

"I feel great about them," he said. "They should be proud of what they have helped us accomplish this year."

Nova has been pleased with his sneiors' dedication to the game.

"They play hard," he said. "They're a great group of young men. They understand the rewards of hard work."

Senior right tackle Luis Berber is ecstatic he and his teammates are so deep in the playoffs this year.

"It's a good way to end my senior season," he said "It's about as good as it gets."

Berber said he will take from his football experience many fond memories. He especially cherishes the friends he's made.

"We're all really close," he said. "We've all been playing together for a long time. ... What we go through every day here makes you bond."

Maltbie expressed similar sentiments.

"I know I've met a group of friends I'll always have" he said.

Knowing this is his last year playing for the Warriors, Maltbie said he has felt a number of emotions during practice the last few weeks. But, he said, it's exciting to know that years from now he'll be able to say he was part of a team that made history.

"It's cool for me to get this opportunity as a senior," Maltbie said.

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Warriors seniors

Senior members of the football team are:

•Luis Berber

•Ross Bertolini

•Matt Bray

•Frankie Cardenas

•Brennon Charlton

•Vernon Clower

•Eric Gerth

•Matt Maltbie

•Sherman Norton

•Ryan Rook

•Dusty Thomas