HDN Big Five standings

Big 5 PF PA Overall

Fortuna 3-0 72 33 6-1

Arcata 1-0 18 14 4-1

Eureka 0-0 0 0 6-0

Del Norte 1-2 35 52 2-5

*McKinleyville 0-3 14 40 0-5

* McKinleyville has canceled
the rest of its season

Week 7 results

Arcata 18, Del Norte 14

Eureka 34, James Logan 7

Fortuna 2, McKinleyville 0 (forfeit)

News this week that McKinleyville is officially canceling the rest of its varsity season came as no surprise, since the Panthers have forfeited all of their games after a 36-14 loss to Fortuna on Sept. 15, citing low numbers on its initial roster and a rash of injuries, including five players in concussion protocol.

Unfortunately for Del Norte, the Warriors’ contingency plan for making up this week’s lost game with a road game at Elsie Allen High School on Oct. 20 is now also in question due to wildfires in Santa Rosa.

“It has been kind of typical of the whole season. It has been a ‘What’s going to happen next?’ sort of thing,” said Del Norte head coach Lewis Nova. “We wish McKinleyville all the best. Down in Santa Rosa, they are dealing with some serious life stuff that is more important than a football game. So we are in limbo right now a little bit. We are just going to go to work in practice.”

Last week the Warriors announced that they had agreed to travel to Santa Rosa on Oct. 20, during its originally scheduled bye week. Since then, several wildfires have started north of the Bay Area and although Elsie Allen High School is currently not in danger from the fires, it is serving as an emergency shelter for victims of the blazes, and football is likely not on the top of most residents’ minds at the moment.

Nova said he hasn’t officially heard one way or the other about the trip to Elsie Allen on Oct. 20, and there currently isn’t a deadline to make a decision on the game’s status.

“If they put everything out in the next few days, then a football game might be just what that community needs,” Nova said. “There are just a lot of important things going on in life down there for them right now.”

With the forfeit by the Panthers and next week’s game also in question, Del Norte is left not knowing exactly who its next opponent will be. The Warriors Oct. 27 contest at home against Eureka is the next game Del Norte is certain about.

Nova said Del Norte spent the first couple days of its bye week focusing on itself but is already peeking ahead at the games to come.

“We will take the next couple days to fine-tune our special teams and all of our fundamental stuff,” Nova said at practice on Tuesday. “Wednesday we will start bringing out some Eureka stuff and taking a look at them. If we end up playing Elsie Allen then we will have our regular week to get ready. Right now I am banking on Eureka being our next game, so that is what I am going to get my team ready for.”

Still searching for consistency

The Warriors are coming off of a close 18-14 loss on the road to Arcata last Friday. It was the fourth straight loss on the field for the Warriors, with only the first McKinleyville forfeit breaking up the streak.

“We came after them. It was a great battle down there, especially when you look at the second half,” Nova said. “Unfortunately inexperience and penalties hurt us again. We can’t have penalties. We are still focusing on the basic fundamentals and playing a full game. That is what we need to achieve to get back in the win column.”

Although the Warriors have been on the wrong side of the scoreboard since a 22-0 victory over Central Valley to open the season, Del Norte’s offense has started to show significant improvement in its last couple games. Del Norte out-gained the Tigers 291 to 278 last Friday, and the Warriors edged out Fortuna with 305 yards of offense to the Huskies 300 the week before.

“For the most part, our line is blocking well and our backs are running hard,” Nova said. “Our output in yardage shows that we have been going toe-to-toe with them. Our battle now is finishing and getting into the end zone a few more times. We have had opportunities, but it seems like we drive the length of the field and then shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Del Norte was also dealing with several injury issues throughout the game in Arcata. Seniors Jeremiah Norbury and Jackson Reese, along with sophomore Luke King, were all banged up against the Tigers and ended the game on the sidelines.

Nova said he was impressed by the performances of some of the players who helped fill in for the missing Warriors.

“Lucas Gugliemini came in and played an abundance of time compared to what he has played in the past,” Nova said. “He stepped up and made himself a force. He was on both sides of the ball and he didn’t get to come out.

“We had several guys like that. We finished the game in Arcata with only one guy on the offensive line playing the same place that he started the game in. But we continued to battle -— we had a few bodies who came in and played well for us in those roles.”

Del Norte’s junior varsity football game against McKinleyville is unaffected by the Panthers forfeiting the rest of its varsity season. The Warrior JV is scheduled to kick off in McKinleyville on Friday at 6 p.m.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com.

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