Warrior Memories: Warriors won their 1st title back in 1959

By Dick Trone February 18, 2013 02:38 pm

A long dry spell finally came to an end when the 1959 Del Norte High School football team, under the leadership of coach Tex Gatlin, won the first Humboldt-Del Norte league championship in the school’s history.

The Warriors played their first interscholastic football game on September 20, 1924. That team was coached by Charles Thunen, and they started things off right by defeating Arcata High School at Arcata, 6-0.

The league did not admit Del Norte until a couple of years later due to travel distance. It was a long wait from the mid-1920s until 1959 for the Warriors’ first championship.

The team got off to a
really great start, playing two non-league games, the first against Brookings, which the Warriors won 46-0. Their next non-league game was to be played against Grants Pass High School in Grants Pass. The Grants Pass team was considered to be a powerhouse and was favored to beat Del Norte. The Warriors forgot to listen to the experts and went to Grants Pass and gave the Cavemen a sound 41-7 beating.

This propelled the Warriors into their league schedule with great momentum. I was still a student at Humboldt State so I got to see several Warrior contests, and they were a fun team to watch.

The team was lead by quarterback Dan Sousa. Dan went on to Humboldt State, where he had an outstanding career. While at Humboldt, he was able to rejoin former teammate Drew Roberts, and the passing combo of Sousa to Roberts accounted for a lot of yards for the Lumberjacks.

Dan was not only a unanimous first selection for HDN offensive and defensive all-league teams, but also was a San Francisco  Chronicle first team selection for its All North Coast Section team.

Other Warriors receiving All League honors for their outstanding play were Charles Mathews, Frank Sperry, Gary Bramon and Jim Tomasini.

These are just a few of the names of players that made the 1959 Warriors a champion and a really fun team to watch. When I looked at the total roster, every name on it was one that any coach would be proud to have had on his team; they were a great bunch.

Dick Trone writes on his reflections and the history of Del Norte High Warrior sports. Trone, who played football for the Warriors and graduated in 1951, had an illustrious career on the gridiron at Humboldt State University. Trone was football head coach at Del Norte High for a number of years before retiring.