Win homecoming -- Levi Cox-Cooley rushed 22 times for 250 yards, as Del Norte captured a 29-13 victory over Fortuna in non-conference battle last Friday at Mike Whalen Field. The Warriors are 5-1 this season; the Huskies fell to 1-4.
It was over – When Fortuna narrowed the score to 22-13 early in the fourth quarter, scoring on a short field after picking off an O.J. Calleja pass. Only to have Calleja bounce back and direct a four-minute drive, concluding with his own four-yard touchdown run behind senior center Luke King.
Atonement -- On his third carry of the game, Cox-Cooley broke loose on a 60-yard run ... only to have the ball knocked out of his hands from behind and recovered by Fortuna. However, on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, the junior sprinted 67 yards for a TD, giving Del Norte some breathing room after leading just 8-7 at halftime.
To the rescue -- After a 3 of 9 performance in a loss to Mazama on Sept. 20, Calleja returned to form against the Huskies. He was 3 of 5 passing, averaging a remarkable 38 yards a completion.
Defense -- Fortuna running back Levi Nyberg came into the game averaging 5.7 yards per carry and 115 yards per game. But led by Tanner Forker, Del Norte’s defense tackled Nyberg for loss on six of his 11 carries, with two others going for no gain. He finished with a single yard of rushing.
Defense, continued -- The Warriors limited Fortuna to 48 yards rushing, 45 yards passing, 93 yards total.
Rivalry renewed -- Over the past 15 seasons, Del Norte and Fortuna have played each other 34 times, with the Huskies holding an 18-16 advantage. The teams will meet again on Oct. 25 in Fortuna, in a Big Five Conference game between the two teams.
The freshman -- R.J. Loftin was brought up off the junior varsity roster and the freshman responded by rushing for 33 yards on seven carries (4.7 yards per carry.) Coach Nick White was pleased with the effort, especially Loftin’s vision and how he waited patiently for his blocks.
The senior -- Kai Baugh got his first chance to play for Del Norte’s varsity on Friday. A standout on the junior varsity as a freshman, he transferred from Del Norte before returning this year for his senior season. His debut in 2019 was slowed by an injury. Coaches limited the number of plays against Fortuna, but he was still a force, recording a sack and several tackles from his defensive lineman post.
Next up -- Del Norte travels to Weaverville for a 7:30 p.m. game against Trinity Valley starting at 7:30 p.m. Catch the Warrior Pregame Show on KPOD 97.9 FM starting at 7:15 p.m.
Hungry Wolves -- Trinity Valley is 0-4 this season and went 0-10 in 2018. One of those losses last year was to Del Norte, 48-20, in Crescent City. It will be homecoming night for the Wolves.
Other action -- Defending Big Four Conference champion Eureka has now won three in a row after shutting out Ukiah 27-0 on Friday. St. Bernard’s had the night off. In non-conference results, St. Bernard’s is 5-0, Del Norte is 5-1, Eureka is 3-3 and Fortuna is 1-4. In other games involving Del Norte foes, Moreau Catholic is now 4-2 following a 49-0 demolition of Washington. La Salle Prep topped Putnam 42-21 to improve to 1-2. Mazama (4-0) crushed Phoenix 45-0, while Petaluma dropped to 1-5 after losing to Justin-Sienna 33-10.
Bruins undefeated -- Brookings-Harbor has won its first four games this season, handling Lakeview on Friday 38-15. The league season begins for the Bruins this week at South Umpqua (1-3).
Rankings -- Del Norte stayed No. 3 in the MaxPreps N-C-S Division 5 rankings, with Eureka moving up to fourth, Moreau Catholic fifth, and Fortuna 10th. In Division 6, St. Bernard’s remained at No. 2. Despite its lopsided win, Mazama actually dropped a spot this week, to No. 3, in the OSAA Class 4-A rankings.
JV wins again -- Hunter Giddings scored a trio of touchdowns Friday night as the Del Norte junior varsity blasted Fortuna 51-8. Giancarlo DeSolenni added a pair of scores as well for the Warriors, now 4-1 this season.