The Del Norte football team started slowly in both halves of its first road game of the season, and Mazama was able to take advantage.
The Vikings took an early lead and pulled away in the second half for a 32-0 victory over the Warriors.
Mazama got off to a strong start to the game in its home opener. The Vikings forced Del Norte into a three-and-out in the first possession of the game, then drove 53 yards on seven rushing plays to grab an early 8-0 lead.
Mazama’s offense was able to move the ball throughout the first half, but after the Vikings first drive Del Norte was able to keep Mazama off the scoreboard for the rest of the half.
“They jumped on us early, but then our kids stepped up and played hard to keep it 8-0 heading into halftime,” said Del Norte head coach Lewis Nova. “The defense bent, but like last week they were able to stand up in the red zone and stop a couple of their drives.”
The Del Norte offense started to show some life in its second drive of the game. Junior quarterback Ethan Price set the Warriors up deep in Mazama territory with a 31 yard run down to the Vikings’ 28 yard line. Del Norte was denied points, however, when Mazama intercepted a pass in the end zone.
The Vikings second drive of the game started on their own 4 yard line. Mazama again leaned heavily on the run, driving 85 yards all the way to the Del Norte 11 yard line. The Warriors defense stiffened up in the red zone, however, and was able to force a turnover on downs.
After another three-and-out by Del Norte, Mazama took over at midfield and again drove deep into Warrior territory. A Mazama holding penalty ultimately stymied the drive, however, and Del Norte once again escaped unscathed.
The Warrior offense took over at the 19 yard line and drove 55 yards in about three minutes, but Mazama was able to step up and force a turnover on downs to preserve their 8-0 lead heading into halftime.
“Offensively we found a bit of a groove,” Nova said. “I was really excited to see that. The offensive line started to move things, which allowed us to get into good positions. We can build off of that for next week.”
Mazama got off to another good start in the second half, taking the opening kickoff back 83 yards for a touchdown and tacked on another two-point conversion to make the score 16-0 just 14 seconds into the third quarter.
The Vikings followed that up two plays later with their second interception of the game to take possession on their own 15 yard line. Ten plays later, the Vikings were able to punch it back into the end zone with a tough 30 yard run to put Mazama comfortably in control of the game with a 24-0 lead.
“They just made some big plays,” Nova said. “It kind of snowballed on us and we couldn’t find our way back. The kids fought all the way until the end, though, so I give them credit for that.”
The Del Norte junior varsity team suffered its first loss of the season, falling 32-6 to Mazama to drop to 1-1 overall this season.
Del Norte football will be back at Mike Whalen Field next Friday, hosting St. Bernard’s with the junior varsity teams kicking off at 5:30 p.m. followed by the varsity game at about 7:30 p.m.