Warrior Memories: The defense goes to Fritz

April 10, 2008 11:00 pm

By Dick Trone

When a team takes the field against the Del Norte Warrior football team, they have to know that yards and points are going to be hard to come by. The Warrior defense is lead by another former Del Norte High standout athlete in Fritz Baldwin. Defensive coordinator Baldwin has been a part of Coach Louie Nova's staff for many years.

Fritz graduated from Del Norte High School in 1973. While in high school he was a standout in both football and wrestling. During his career at Del Norte he played football under Dale Thomas and wrestled for Coach Ron Kunstal. When I talked to these two individuals you really could feel the respect they had for Fritz.

He was a tough, quiet, hard working individual. Coach Kunstal told a story about Fritz that showed just how tough he really was. A couple of days before an important match against Arcata, Fritz had an accident in woodshop where one hand was severely injured —in fact his fingers were almost cut off.

The doctors bandaged up his hand to where it was almost like a club. The Arcata wrestler was supposed to be the best in the league. When the match started, the Arcata wrestler made a bad mistake.

He slapped Fritz and grabbed him by his sore hand. Coach Kunstal said this little act so infuriated Fritz that he flipped him on his back and pinned him in less than a minute.

On the football field he was a standout defensive player. After graduation from high school he first went to College of the Siskiyous where he played for coach Greg Gatlin, son of former Warrior legend Tex Gatlin.

After the Siskiyous, Fritz went to Idaho State on a football scholarship. After a semester at Idaho State he gave up his scholarship, got married and moved to Texas, where he played semipro football for several years. After Texas he returned to Crescent City where he went to work as a plumber. He now works at Pelican Bay in this same capacity.

Fritz has worked as the defensive coordinator for both Nova and Tony Fabricus. His defense is always well prepared and he has the ability to make necessary adjustments during the game.

Those that play for Fritz have total respect for his quiet manner. He is another of those Del Norte High School graduates that have given of their time to our youth.

When you look at the Warrior football program which is the pride of our community, Nova, offensive coordinator Blaine Lopez and defensive coordinator Baldwin are all Warrior graduates that have come home to roust.

As a former coach I really recognize the value of quality assistants. They are the ones that make life as a head coach fun and the machine to run effectively.