The Del Norte football team’s offseason is winding down as they prepare to put on the pads for the official start of practice on Monday. About 50 to 60 players were on hand for the Warriors’ fall football camp Wednesday through Friday which were the last voluntary workouts of the summer.
“The biggest part is to get the kids into shape so that when they put on pads it is not a huge change for them as far as running and conditioning — because that puts about 10 more pounds on them.,” said first year head coach Nick White. “The other focus is to learn the plays offensively and defensively so that they can be mentally sharp once they get their gear on, start going full speed, and start getting some contact in there. So they don’t have to think so much when they have their gear on and are trying to hit people.”
The three day camp has been similar to the voluntary workouts that Del Norte has held three days a week throughout the summer in preparation for the 2019 season.
“The kids did a really good job of showing up through the summer,” White said. “The main focus was weight training and just keeping the kids in shape. Except for the freshmen, the majority of them have been lifting since February. So it was just keeping them in that shape so that they are not losing their muscle.”
White said the reason for the programs focus on the weight room during the summer is two-fold.
“Weight training is important because obviously we want to be able to push people around, but it is also for the kids safety,” he said. “The more muscle you have, the safer it is for kids to get out there. That way they can take contact, especially since other kids have been lifting weights on other teams too.”
Most of the kids planning to play football this fall were on hand for the last voluntary workouts of the year, and White said coaches could tell which kids have been putting in the work.
“You could tell that some of the kids have been running and some of them haven’t, of course,” White said. “But that is why we do it — to get those kids in shape. It is hard for kids to push themselves as far as they need to go to be in shape by themselves, so that is pretty much the idea of these three days.”
It has been a similar story with learning the playbook.
“The kids who were their for spring football are doing a really good job,” White said. “They remember all of those plays, and we have been doing some of that during the summer too along with the weight training. So the returning kids are doing good and the newer kids are picking it up slowly but surely. Anything that you do in life it is hard to pick it up after only one day, but they are working hard at it.”
With practice set to officially start on Monday, the Warriors are now less than three weeks away from the start of the season. White said Del Norte is expecting to head down to Eureka on Aug. 16 for a jamboree. In Eureka the Warriors will have a chance to scrimmage the Loggers, Fortuna and Fort Bragg.
The following week Del Norte will kick off the season with a road trip to Hayward on Aug. 23 to take on Moreau Catholic. The Mariners were the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section Division IV playoffs in 2018 before finishing as the runner up, falling to Fortuna in the NCS championship game. The Warriors were the No. 2 seed last year, and fell to the eventual champion Huskies in the semifinals.