By Ray Hamill — The Warriors will be looking for another big performance from their defense on Saturday night, when they welcome Moreau Catholic to Crescent City for an NCS Division-5 playoff game.
Del Norte’s defense has been outstanding the entire season, allowing just 10.8 points a game, with many of those points coming late in the games with the outcome already long decided.
They kicked off the year with a big performance in a 20-19 win at Moreau Catholic back in August, and while both teams have come a long ways since then, each will know what to expect on Saturday night.
“We got a chance to watch some game film and we played them earlier in the season, so we’re familiar with them,” Del Norte head coach Nick White said.
One thing White and his defense will be slightly less familiar with is the talented running back duo of Fresh Ison and Devin Arnold, each of whom missed the first game and each of whom offers a legitimate offensive threat.
“One of the things we have to do is stop their running game,” White said.
The Warriors have plenty of depth on a dominating defense, which has been led all year by linebackers Tanner Forkner and Anthony Slayton, the latter of whom was sensational again last week in a 41-6 rout of Alhambra to open the postseason.
Slayton finished with 14 tackles, including a remarkable six for a loss, a statistic the Warriors continue to lead the entire NCS in.
“We stay aggressive and attack coming down hill,” White said of his defense. “The kids understand the game plan and what we’re doing. Sometimes they know what’s coming before the offense runs the play.”
They’ll need to be on their toes against a Moreau Catholic team that is 8-3 and fresh off a 56-27 win over Miramonte last week.
“They are by far the most athletic team we faced this year. It’s not even close,” White said of the Mariners. “They’re big, they’re fast, and those two (running backs) bring a different dynamic to their offense.
“It’s a big challenge.”
Offensively, the Warriors will look to wear down the visitors as they have done to opponents all season with a dynamic stable of running backs, including the in-form Chase Blackburn, who has 450 yards rushing and six TDs in his last two games.
Game time is set for 7 p.m.