The Del Norte Warriors battled back late to force overtime in their North Coast Section Division-4 football game at Vallejo on Friday night and almost knocked off a higher seed on the road.
Trailing late in the game, Del Norte would tie things up when Aidan Rice scored a touchdown and Benjamin Borges added a two-point conversion.
With the score deadlocked at 22-22, the game went into overtime.
The No. 3 seed Redhawks would then score on their second OT possession to pull out a 28-22 win and end another successful season for the No. 6 Warriors who won a fourth straight Big 4 championship in the regular season.
“We had a battle,” Del Norte head coach Darren LaFazio said. “It was a good one. I was proud of kids. We had our ups and down, but for the most part we played well.”
Senior quarterback Kyle Dixon led the Warriors offense on their game-tying drive and completed some key passes along the way to set up the late score, including two completions to Rice and one each to Evand Ratnour and Borges.
LaFazio was impressed with the way his players rallied to give themselves a shot at knocking off the higher seeds.
The speedy Redhawks passing game caused the Del Norte defense some problems but they were able to contain them for the most part.
With the loss, the Warriors close out the 2023 season with a record of 6-4, which included a five-game winning streak.
It was LaFazio’s first season in charge of the team, and one he says he will remember fondly for a lot of reasons, most notably a senior class that made it special.
Russell’s overtime interception capped a big season for him personally, one that saw him finish with “eight or 10 sacks.”
“Nobody talks about him, but he’s one of the best linemen in our league,” LaFazio said.
After the game, a juvenile was shot outside the school and he suffered a serious but non-life threatening gunshot wound.
The gun shots could be heard by the Del Norte fans inside the stadium.