Del Norte Warriors

Last week -- Del Norte made the seven-hour trip to Hayward to take on Moreau Catholic, departing with a 20-19 victory over last year’s North Coast Section Division 4 runner-up.

The Big Play -- Connor Long blocked a Moreau Catholic extra-point attempt in the third quarter that proved to be the difference in the final score. The senior also had a spectacular 32-yard pass reception, the longest completion for the Del Warriors in the game.

It was over when ... -- Del Norte took possession deep in its own territory with six minutes to play, nursing a one-point lead. Moreau Catholic’s defense knew the Warriors were going to run the ball, and still couldn’t stop Del Norte, which picked up three consecutive first downs to seal the victory.

Dynamic duo -- Running backs Kobe Mitchell (130 yards) and Levi Cox-Cooley (123) took advantage of Del Norte’s experienced front line to each break the 100-yard barrier Friday. Mitchell was particularly dominate in the second half.

Defensive dimension -- Del Norte’s defensive totals against Moreau Catholic would have been impressive even without the minus-60 yards rushing incurred by the Mariners on its first possession of the game. Overall, the Warriors limited its opponent to 54 yards rushing and 203 yards passing.

He’s baaaacccck -- Kenji Adams-Lee converted both of his extra-point kicks (a third was mishandled and he never had a chance to put foot to ball). Last year, Adams-Lee was solid until he suffered an injury. He’s also in charge of kickoffs and punts. Against Moreau Catholic, his acrobatic snag of a high snap in the end zone saved the Warriors from giving up a safety in the first half.

Starting off right -- Del Norte has now won four season-opening games in a row. The last first-game loss was in 2015, a 62-19 defeat to Cardinal Newman.

Next on the agenda -- Yreka will open its season Friday night by taking on the Warriors at Mike Whalen Field. Varsity kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Prior to that, the 2019 Del Norte High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductees will be honored.

Two teams, even-Steven -- Del Norte and Yreka have played each other four times since 2014. The Warriors lost that first year in disputed fashion, 42-36; won at home two years later, 32-9; lost to the Miners at Mike Whalen Field, 12-6, in 2017; and traveled to Siskiyou County last year to win 44-0.

Around the conference – Results were mixed for Big Four Conference teams this past weekend. Along with Del Norte’s victory, St. Bernard’s took care of business against El Molino 36-7. Eureka lost to powerhouse Placer 40-27 in a game that was tied in the fourth quarter. Fortuna, playing on Thursday night, was dismissed by always-tough Cardinal Newman, 38-0. That game was played in Healdsburg (the Santa Rosa school continues to rebuild from wildfires). Petaluma, which will host Del Norte on Sept. 13, lost to Tamalpais, 27-19.

Junior varsity now 1-0 -- Del Norte High’s junior varsity football team dominated early, but had to hang on late to claim a 37-28 victory. The Warriors led 15-0, but turnovers helped Moreau Catholic get back in the game. In the fourth quarter, R.J. Loftin scored three TDs to put the game away.

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