By Ray Hamill — The Del Norte Warriors will host their first North Coast Section playoff game in two years on Friday night, welcoming Justin-Siena to Crescent City.
The Warriors are the No. 2 seeds in Division IV, and coming off a bye in the opening round after closing out the regular season with an impressive win at St. Bernard’s two weeks ago.
The No. 10 Braves, meanwhile, were just 5-6 in the regular season, but got the better of Piedmont 53-28 on the road last week, the only underdog to win in the opening round, and the lowest remaining seed in the bracket.
“They’re gonna bring some confidence,” Del Norte head coach Lewis Nova said of the Braves. “They beat Piedmont, a team they lost to earlier in the year, so they’re going to be fired up.”
Overall, the Braves have not been winning a lot of games recently, however.
They lost two straight to close out the regular season and are just 2-5 in their last seven games, including last week’s upset win.
And the Warriors, who come into the game after an impressive 8-2 regular season, are unbeaten at home this year, with their only losses coming on the road at Fortuna and Eureka.
Nova, however, is taking nothing for granted, and is expecting a tough game against a Justin-Siena team with plenty of speed.
“We need to get some turnovers, and again no penalties,” the Del Norte head coach said. “They’re a pretty balanced team, and it’s going to be matter of what they feel our weaknesses are.”
The Warriors used their bye week to rest up and get healthy, and come into the clash as healthy as they’ve been in a while.
And Nova believes his players will be up for the occasion.
“My coordinators have done a good job, and we’ll be ready for them,” he said.
The winner moves on to play either No. 3 Kennedy or No. 6 Fortuna, who play in Richmond on Saturday night.
Friday’s game in Crescent City is scheduled for 7 p.m.