By Ray Hamill — A large Hoopa senior class played their final game together on Saturday, as the Warriors bowed out of the North Coast Section playoffs.
Hoopa fell 28-15 to top seed St. Vincent de Paul in the Division-7 bracket at Petaluma, ending a competitive season that included plenty of success.
And head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings believes many of his senior players have a bright future at the collegiate level.
“There are a lot of them that want to play at the next level and lot of them who can play at the next level,” the coach said. “I look forward to seeing them play at the next level. I know these guys can excel there.”
Billings knows this group of players well, having coached this senior class at the youth football level and as JVs.
And the players and coach have become close over the years and built a special bond.
“I love these guys, I’ve been with them a long time,” Billings said. “What impressed me is how they stayed together. They had each others’ backs, and you could see these guys have played together for 10-plus years.”
The Warriors finished up 6-5, but they were as competitive as any team in the H-DNL and all four of their regular season losses came by an average of just three points.
“We never quit, we never do,” the head coach said. “We never allowed a game to get away from us. We were always there.”
Billings believes that many of these seniors also grew as team leaders this year and set a good example for their younger teammates.
“They matured through the years and you could see it,” Billings said. “I’m very proud of these boys.”
On Saturday, the Warriors scored a pair of second-half touchdowns, on runs by Andrew Hunsucker and Lane Campbell, with Gerard Marshall also running in for a two-point conversion.
Linebacker Rodney Clark, who has impressed down the stretch of the season, was tasked with the job of spying Hall and he did an outstanding job, finishing with a team-high 15 tackles, including 11 on Hall alone.
Marshall also closed out his high school career with another strong performance on both sides of the ball, as did Brian Gulley and Bear Little.