By Ray Hamill — It was quite a memorable season for the Del Norte JVs, and one their head coach won’t forget any time soon.
The Warriors closed out a perfect campaign with a 12-6 win over Eureka recently and finished with a record of 10-0, including a 6-0 mark on the way to a league title.
And they achieved that with a rookie head coach, Tanner Forkner, who is just a few short years removed from playing JV football himself and only graduated high school a few months ago.
“I really enjoyed it. It was fun,” said Forkner. who took over the team three weeks into the season. “I love the coaching aspect of it. I played for a long time, but until you coach you really don’t know what it’s like.”
Forker’s playing days are far from over.
After a stellar career playing for the Warriors the past few years, he will be heading down to College of the Redwoods in the spring where he is expected to play a major role at linebacker for head coach Jason White’s new team next year.
And he believes the time he spent coaching will benefit him tremendously when he returns to the field.
“Definitely,” he said. “You see the game from a whole different aspect.”
Del Norte varsity head coach Nick White, who is a brother of Jason’s, also believes Forker will grow as a player from his time on the sidelines this fall and says that he has shown he has a bright future in coaching after his playing days.
“He’s a natural born leader and coach,” Nick White said. “And his football knowledge is off the charts. He was kind of a coach for us last year when he played.”
Forkner, who has yet to lose a game as a coach, says the success he enjoyed this year was all down to his players.
“That team was so good, they made me look good,” he said. “Them and (assistant coaches John Nusky and Kendall Giddings).”
The team certainly had talent and their record would suggest that Warriors football will be in good hands for the next few years, especially along both lines.
The rest of the Big 4 may not want to hear it, but the Del Norte tradition of dominating in the trenches will continue with the next group of linemen, who were the strength of this year’s JV team and known affectionately as “The Hogs.”
“They were bought in,” Forkner said of his players. “They wanted to be there every single day. They loved it, and that made my job easy.
“I love their camaraderie and how they played together and I love their ownership. If they messed up, they would take responsibility for it.”
The JV season may be over, but Forkner is still coaching and helping out with Nick White’s varsity squad as the Warriors prepare for a second playoff game on Friday night.