Coastal Voices: Community a 12th man for Warrior football team

By Ray Rook February 06, 2014 04:43 pm

As the head football coach, I couldn’t be more excited to represent, and interact with, the outstanding people of this great community.  I am proud and honored to work with our dedicated coaches, and the very finest young people you can find: our hard-working student athletes.  

Our mission is to build on the proud traditions of our program’s past, and continue that development until earning respect state-wide.  Athletics is a proven way to develop young people into successful adults, and we take that opportunity seriously.  Our commitment to the student athletes is matched by parents, teachers, and families.

Local individuals and businesses have joined in. This strong support is seen across our community, and the players have responded; with courageous effort from the gridiron to geometry class, and more.

Our players strive to represent, and be a part of, this great community beyond Mike Whalen Field. You might have seen them helping with Orick’s big rodeo, setting up Relay For Life, or at the Lighthouse Quilt Show from set-up to clean-up. Players helped with a “Fire Awareness” field trip for local elementary schools, and served lunch to elders in Smith River.

Our coaches and players assisted youth football practices, to help younger players chase their dreams while seeding our program’s future.  We were among the many sports programs that joined the “Fight Meth” campaign.  

This is just a sample of how Del Norte’s Warriors are fighting for their community, and a better tomorrow. This is just a peek into the partnership between the team and the community at large. This is just a glimpse into the character of young people I am so very excited about and deeply proud of.

None of this is possible without solid support, and we have it. In 2010 the Warrior Booster Club was formed.  Parents and energetic folks banded together to raise the funding that makes it all possible. Several independent donors chipped in.  Together they made the “Warrior Experience” all that it has become: a character building, public serving, community-wide source of Warrior Pride. 

This community support has funded new uniforms, upgraded headsets and acquired or replaced many critical items. We were able to improve our blocking sleds and address travel costs to ease the burden on players’ families.

Parents volunteer time and money to make each Thursday pre-game team dinner something special. The halftime deli sandwiches, fruit, and Gatorade  are never in short supply, thanks to that same support. Elk Valley Rancheria and the Luis family each provided a meal to the team this past season.

 The following is a list of all of the fine people, and business that either donated money or time to the Warrior football program: The Del Norte Football Booster club and its board; Phil Jamison; John and Donna Pritchett; Ron and Karen Plechety; Clarke Ducart; Felicia Roberts; Sandy Cardoza; and all the members and volunteers that helped with booster activities; Del Norte Youth Football; Alyssa’s Coffee; Northwoods Restaurant; Mor Jon Inc.; Cal-Ore Life Flight; Nick Perez; Angie Galindo; Gabe Lopez; Don and Debbie Brooks; Sean and Tami McClafflin; CCPOA, Elk Valley Rancheria; Crescent Fire Protection District; Crescent Ace Hardware; Snoozie Shavings; Walmart; Safeway; Ray’s; Pizza Hut; Tony Luis Sr.; Floyd Classen; Sutter Coast Hospital; Champion Awards & Engraving; The Mail Room; Hemmingson Construction; Sport & Cycle; Cal Auto Image; Home Depot; Carlene Lacy and Red Chair Photography; Mike Coopman Guide Service; and the people who donated under the Warrior Challenge fundraiser.

Perhaps the biggest thank you is to the families and spouses of our coaching staff. Our staff puts in countless hours during the season and off-season. Without the support of their spouses and families this great season we had does not happen.

First of all I want to thank my wife Trisha, and my family, Nat Parrott, Marc Slayton, Fritz Baldwin, Bob Hoymen, Joe Baugh, Mike Coopman, Gene Mitchell, Rod Shellabarger, Nick White, Chris White, Jeremy Lacy, Darren Lafazio, Dan Adams, Rick Kelly, Brad Kime, and most of all Wendy Terry, Cori Allen, Jessica Turner, and Coreen Coopman.

As I close, it is almost impossible to thank everyone who donated time or money to this program. I believe the most important people to thank are those of you who attend not only football games, but all of the athletic events at the high school.

It is very exciting, and an honor to be part of a Friday night at Mike Whalen Field. We hope to continue to produce a team under the Warrior Pride and Tradition that has been such a great part of our community.

Ray Rook is head football coach at Del Norte High School.