Hoopa Warriors not backing down after defeat

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Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSportscom – Hoopa quarterback John Smith has thrown for nine touchdowns in the past two games

By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa Warriors are confident they can rebound from Friday night’s 59-30 loss to a red-hot Ferndale team, and are feeling pretty good about themselves at the halfway point of their season despite the loss.

“Our team, I feel like we’re in a good spot,” head coach Sonny Ryles said of the 2-3 Warriors. “We had a good first half to our season. I don’t feel like we’re out of this at all.”

Defensively, Hoopa was unable to halt a very good Wildcats’ offense, which broke the game open with a big third quarter and have now scored 105 points in two league games.

The Cats are 2-0 in the Little 4 and in sole possession of the lead, with Hoopa and Arcata are each 1-1.

Offensively, however, the Warriors have been putting up plenty of points themselves, particularly through the air, where quarterback John Smith has thrown for nine touchdowns since coming back from injury last week.

Ryles, however, would like to see more balance on both sides of the ball, and running the ball and defending the run will be a priority at practice this coming week.

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Against the Cats, Smith threw a pair of TD passes to senior Carlos Aguilar, including a wonderful 45-yard reception in good coverage on the second play of the game to give the home team an early lead.

Smith also connected with Jasper Hostler and Sam Jones on scoring passes.

“There were definitely some positives,” Ryles said of his team, which only trailed by seven at halftime. “The passing game for sure, and I thought both of Carlos’ touchdowns were really good catches.”

Colton Hayes, David Ruiz and Sam Jones each played well defensively in the loss, while Aidan Mendes “showed real toughness,” according to his coach.

The coach also took some of the responsibility for the loss on himself, saying he didn’t make the necessary adjustments at halftime, something he says he needs to do a better job of going forward.

The Warriors play at Arcata next weekend in another key league showdown.

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