By Ray Hamill — Del Norte and Eureka will play each other twice in football this fall for the first time since the 2013 season.
The Warriors released their schedule this week, with nine games penciled in, including five against Big 4 opposition.
In addition to three straight conference showdowns to close out the regular season, the Warriors will also play both the Loggers and Fortuna Huskies in non-Big 4 games.
The defending conference champs will have a very different look this fall, with 17 seniors moving on from last season.
And the new players will have big shoes to fill after seeing the Warriors win a first-ever NCS title on the way to a state championship appearance in 2019.
The ongoing lockdown at Del Norte and other high schools has not helped this year’s preparations, although head coach Nick White knows he’s in the same situation as everyone else.
“We had 40 kids in the weight room. Now that went away,” White said this week. “It affects everybody. All you can do is try to prepare for when we do get back.
“I feel bad for the kids that were going to play baseball.
“Definitely it’s a setback, but everybody’s in the same boat.”
The good news for the Warriors is that they will return some key players from last year’s dominating 13-2 team, including Big 4 Offensive MVP Levi Cox Cooley, who tore up the conference at running back, as well as linebacker Tanner Forkner, one of the best defensive players on the North Coast.
Kaleb Price, who continues to grow in stature as an all-around athlete, also will return, as will all-league selection Sam Schauerman, a standout sophomore in 2019.
“It’s going to be about how the other kids come in and fill their role,” White said.
The Warriors open the 2020 season on the road at Enterprise, before four straight home games against North Medford, Eureka, University Prep and Stellar Prep.
They then play at Fortuna, followed by a trip to St. Bernard’s to kick off the Big 4, before hosting Fortuna and closing out at Eureka on November 6.