A new era for Warrior football officially kicked off last week as Del Norte High School announced that it has hired Nick White as the new head coach, taking over the program from former head coach Lewis Nova.

Although Del Norte football has undergone a change in management, fans can expect to see a somewhat familiar team moving forward.

“We are going to carry on the tradition of Del Norte where every kid plays hard, everybody is tough and everybody wants to hit,” White said. “That is what I will carry on — that is what Del Norte is about. We play physical football and that will definitely continue.”

White said he hopes to have a versatile team but the Warriors first order of business will be to control the ground game — both offensively and defensively.

“We want to be able to run and pass the ball but you establish the run first and then go from there,” White said. “If people don’t stop you running the ball then you don’t really need to pass it. We definitely want to run the ball, establish ourselves and be physical. Defensively it is the same thing. We are going to be physical up front and we are going to stop the run.”

White has become quite familiar with Del Norte football, serving as an assistant coach for six of the last 10 years. White spent about five seasons on Ray Rook’s staff, and joined Nova’s staff last year. White said he has coached offensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs for Del Norte but he has always been involved with helping both the offense and the defense every year he has been on staff.

White’s football career began in Fort Bragg, where he was a standout linebacker and tight end in high school. As a senior, White helped his team to a North Coast Section 2A championship, which he says is roughly equivalent to an NCS Division IV championship today.

After high school, White helped College of the Redwoods win back-to-back conference championships in 2000 and 2001 as a linebacker before receiving a scholarship to play for Humboldt State University.

White was a starting cornerback for the Lumberjacks as a junior, but an injury his senior season forced him to sit out as a medical redshirt. The following season White moved back to linebacker and led the league in tackles while making the all-conference team.

White graduated from HSU in 2005 with a degree in kinesiology and returned to the HSU football team as the linebackers coach for the 2006 season.

Although White was fortunate to continue playing football through college, he said there is something extra special about a high school team.

“Out of all the teams that I have played on the most memorable team, and the closest team I was ever on was my senior year in high school,” White said. “I played in college and all those years but the most camaraderie that we had was in high school. That is why I like coaching high school. All the kids have grown up together, they are all friends, they all know each other and they will all sacrifice and give anything for each other. That is the cool part and that is what I will preach a lot.”

While White has been enjoyed coaching at the high school level in recent years, he said he hadn’t considered trying to become a head coach until recently.

“I really hadn’t thought about it until a year ago,” he said. “I’ve just come to a point where I know that I can do it, and I know my experience will help me to be successful. I’m just going to bring my drive and hard work to the team. We are just going to grind it out every day and try our hardest.”

White said his first order of business will be to get his players to put in the work throughout the spring and summer so they are ready to go next fall.

“I’m just trying to get the kids involved during the offseason, and getting them invested in the program and how much work it takes to be successful,” White said. “I really want to preach teamwork, sacrificing for the team, and all the kids coming together as one. I think the biggest thing is playing with each other and that is huge for the kids.”

After helping coach the Warriors last season, White is excited about the potential for next years team. He said the offseason is off to a good start but activity will definitely pick up when spring football starts on May 14.

“A lot of the kids are dedicated right now in the offseason and that needs to continue through the summer,” White said. “All the time put in to build up to the season, and the time invested in the season is what is going to make the difference. We have a good group of kids coming back. Our front should be good. I just hope that they work hard. We have to earn it, because nothing is given. Every single rep in practice needs to be good, every drill in practice needs to be good, it is just about putting that time in for the kids to learn and get better.”

White-hot rivalry

White taking over as the head coach of the Warriors will add an interesting twist to a longtime rivalry between Del Norte and Eureka high schools.

Nick White’s older brother Jason White has been coaching the Loggers since 2013.

Nick White said both brothers are excited for the opportunity to compete against each other each season.

“He is happy for me. I think he knows the work that I put into it, so he knows that it is definitely going to be a challenge and it will be like that on both sides for us,” he said. “That is what it is all about though — it’s about the competition, putting in work, playing that game, then congratulating each other after it is done.”

The brothers’ first match up as head coaches is scheduled for Nov. 1 when Eureka visits Crescent City in the regular season finale for both teams.

Nick White said he has spoken with Jason and gotten a few tips on being a head coach and running a program, but it will be all business when Del Norte takes on Eureka.

“As far as game planning and that sort of thing we don’t talk about that stuff — anything that has to do with inside the game,” he said.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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