Warrior Memories: Del Norte Warrior great Bill Sullivan – part one

By Dick Trone January 02, 2009 08:31 am

Whenever a discussion about former Warrior greats occurs, the name Bill Sullivan always comes up.
Bill was a 1958 graduate that played his football and basketball for coach Tex Gatlin and baseball for coach Wally Maciel.

During his junior and senior years Bill was the Warrior quarterback, winning all league and white star honors both years. He was a true triple threat back as a great passer, a great runner, and a great kicker.

One of his exploits as a punter is still talked about. Del Norte was playing Fortuna on the old Pykes Field where the goal pasts were close to what is now the rec gym. Late in the game, with the Warriors leading by a small margin, Del Norte had the ball on forth down on the Fortuna 25-yard line.


Coach Gatlin ordered Bill to punt. The team lined up in punt formation and everybody was sure some kind of trick play was coming because nobody punts from the 25. Bill followed orders and boomed one onto the roof of the gym for a net gain of 15 yards after  the ball game out to the 20 yard liner.

Coach Gatlin later said this great strategy saved the game since Fortuna drove to the four-yard line when time ran out.

With Bill leading the way Del Norte came within six inches of winning the league championship when on forth and goal the ball was marked down at the 6 inch line on what would have been the winning score.

Bill not only received league honors during his senior year, but also was given All-State recognition. Bill received a full ride football scholarship to Oregon State University to play for the Oregon State Beavers. At Oregon State, Bill was the backup quarterback to Terry Baker, who was the Heisman Trophy winner in their senior year. Because of Bill’s natural athletic ability, the Beavers took advantage of those skills and used him quite a bit as a defensive back.

In next week’s column I will discuss what he did in basketball and baseball and some of  the many things he did for the youth of our community.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors, had an illustrious  career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was head football coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.