By Ray Hamill — There’s no doubting how important the play of Ethan Price is to the Del Norte Warriors this season.
Arguably the best athlete in the area, Price is a third-year varsity starter for the Warriors and a threat opponents have to account for in three different ways.
Good and all as Price is, however, his multiple talents would be a lot less effective if it wasn’t for the presence of two other key players.
The play of junior quarterback OJ Calleja and senior running back Sebastian Puente is a major reason the Warriors are off to a 4-0 start and have now outscored their opponents by a total of 164-12, including three shutouts.
Calleja’s presence at QB frees up Price to play a more versatile roll, often lining up at receiver.
While Puente’s ability to run the ball gives Del Norte head coach Lewis Nova a potent one-two punch.
Add to that a more mature and physical line this year, and the Warriors have a recipe for success.
“It allows us to be flexible and not as predictable,” Nova said. “You can’t target them, because you don’t know where they’re going to line up at.”
Running the ball is the Warriors’ priority, and Puente plays a big part in that.
“We want to establish the run and we feel that’s the backbone of our offense,” the head coach said. “And the way he’s running the ball, that helps us do that. He’s running the ball extremely well.”
Warriors prepare for Mazama
Del Norte will play in Crescent City for the second straight week, hosting Mazama on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
And the Del Norte coach is expecting a tough encounter.
“Mazama’s a good team,” Nova said. “This is our third time playing them, and they’re usually one of the top teams in their division.”
The Vikings are ranked 19th in Oregon by Maxpreps, and No. 3,148 nationally, compared to the Warriors’ 4,921 ranking, so it should be the toughest challenge of the season so far for the home team.
“We’ve got to be physical,” Nova said. “They’re usually a big group of boys and they’ll come after us.”