The Warriors headed into a three-week break in style over the weekend, as they crushed the Eureka Loggers 45-0 on Homecoming at Mike Whalen Field.
Del Norte dominated in all aspects of the game, holding the Loggers to just 30 yards on offense as they quickly pulled away and grew stronger as the night went on.
The home team took a 17-0 lead into halftime and added two touchdowns in each of the third and fourth quarters.
“I thought the kids played excellent,” head coach Nick White said. “It was a good night.”
It was also a perfect way to head into back-to-back byes, with no game scheduled again until an Oct. 22 rematch with the Loggers in Eureka.
The Warriors were originally scheduled to play Stellar Prep this weekend, but the game was canceled when the Hayward school dropped its program before the season kicked off.
Through their opening six games, the impressive Warriors are 5-1, with their only loss coming at South Medford, the No. 8 team in all of Oregon, according to MaxPreps.
Their five wins have all come in dominating fashion by at least 42 points, with the Del Norte starters on defense allowing just one first-half TD in those games.
White says the team will use the break in action to work on some fundamentals and prepare for league play.
“First and foremost, it’s about getting fully healthy,” he said. “And next, working on the fundamentals and adding some tweaks here and there.
“During the season, you get caught up in game planning, and now we can go back to fundamentals and building on that for the biggest games of the season.”
Three key contributors — Jacob Dane (OL/DL), Gavin Skerik (FB/MLB) and Aden Mintonye (RB/OLB) — are sidelined through injury, although White is hoping to have all three back in time for the next game.
Del Norte has just three regular season games remaining, all in the Big 4, before the North Coast Section playoffs.
This year, they will compete in Division 4, after being moved up a division because of their recent success in Division 5.
They are currently ranked No. 4 in their bracket, behind Marin Catholic (5-0), Acalanes (5-0) and Cardinal Newman (3-2).
Their three remaining games are at Eureka (Oct. 22), at St. Bernard’s (Oct. 29) and at home to Fortuna on the final night of the regular season on Nov. 4.
As for what has impressed the coach so far, it’s how the players have approached every game in the same businesslike manner and focused on what they need to do.
“I think no matter who we’re playing we set our standard and we play to our standard every game,” he said.
It clearly has been a fun season so far.
“The coaches, the players, the whole program, it’s a joy to come to practice every day,” White added. “A key part to success is getting better at every practice and enjoying it while we’re doing it.”
Friday’s win was the team’s third straight over their biggest league rivals and their second straight shutout over them.
The Warriors welcomed back senior running back RJ Loftin, who had missed the previous two games through injury, and he returned with a bang, scoring TDs on runs of six, five and 10 yards and finishing with 119 yards on 18 carries.
“He’s been working hard to get back,” White said of Loftin. “He gives us a lot of physicality at running back. It’s good to have him back.”
Fellow senior Giancarlo Desolenni continued his outstanding season and ran for 177 yards on seven carries, including second-half TD runs of 75 and 48 yards.
Senior quarterback Cooper Maxwell also scored on a late 30-yard TD run, while senior kicker Daniel Gonzalez remained red hot and nailed all six of his PATs as well as a 30-yard field goal right before halftime.
The Del Norte JVs lost a tough one to Eureka, 8-7, falling for the first time since the spring of 2021.
The young Warriors are now 5-1.
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