By Chad Robert Snyder
Pilot staff writer
The varsity Bruins engaged in a dogfight with longtime foe Del Norte Warriors Friday night, emerging scratched but unbroken from the 39-8 defeat.
The game started quickly with the Warriors returning the opening kickoff 45 yards. They quickly ate up the remaining yardage and punched the ball in with only 1:30 having elapsed in the first quarter.
Then it was the Bruins turn, but the first two drives for the offense illustrated the issue that would haunt them all night.The front four of the Warriors were able to pressure freshman Quarterback Tim Drafahl and get too quickly into the backfield on running plays.
The result was a number of runs for losses and the inability to throw the ball most of the first half.
The defense stiffened up significantly after the first few series, lead by numerous heavy hits by senior Mike Althop. The Bruins began to anticipate what the Warriors were trying to do to their defense and adjusted accordingly.
"They came hard at us," varsity head Coach Jim Keys said.
They did, but the defense kept meeting them hat on hat, play after play.
As the first half moved on through, the Warriors switched their emphasis to throwing the ball more, an obvious attempt to get around the galvanized core of the Bruins defensive unit. The result were mixed, but the score swelled to 32-0 by halftime.
The second half showed the ability of the Bruins to make adjustments, as they began to gouge big hole through the Warriors D-line and secondary. Part of the success was due to the inability of Warriors to pin their ears back and rush the quarterback after the Bruins established a passing threat.
"Once we showed them we could throw the ball, they had to back off the blitz," Coach Keys said.
Sophomore Derek Chavez helped fuel the threat of the pass, making several important catches over the middle in drive sustaining situations.
Despite the effective passing game, the bulk of the yards gained in the second half past under the nifty feet of sophomore Dustin Paradis.
After riping off a 51 yard dash in the second quarter, Paradis came through with two huge runs in the forth quarter, leading the Bruins to a touchdown and two-point conversion in the closing minutes of the game.
Coach Keys saw plenty of things on the field that will help build confidence for the rest of the season.
"We feel we're better than this," he said. "Once we get into a close game, it'll all turn around."
The game was only the latest installment in the bitter feud between the two schools. The ferocity of the rivalryis often attributed to the beat-down the Bruins put on the Warriors two years ago, handing them their only defeat of the season.