Hoopa Man Inducted Into College of the Redwoods Hall of Fame
On September 24, College of the Redwoods held a ceremony to induct their 1976 football team into the CR Hall of Fame. It just so happens that Hoopa tribal member Loren Norton was a freshman at CR in 1976 and was a starting offensive tackle strong side.
The 1976 CR football team won a Golden Valley Conference (GVC) championship in undefeated style beating Butte College 17-10 in the final GVC game of the season to take the crown. Their regular season record was a flawless 10-0. This year’s CR Hall of Fame class is only the fourth football team ever inducted into the CR Athletics Hall of Fame.
Norton presently works as the director of the Hoopa Valley Roads and Aggregate. Norton and three others Mark Sundberg, Ray Nickens and Lawrence Carol were the only Native Americans on the team in 1976.
“It was an honor. After 40 years, you can forget all the things you did in your youth. To be able to have this induction 40 years later is definitely an honor,” Norton said.
The team was coached by the well-known Jim McAuley, whose teams won eight conference championships, three state championships and two Nor Cal championships before he stepped down as head coach following the 1976 season to become CR’s athletic director.
“My most memorable game was definitely the Nor Cal Championship game where we were ahead by 17-14 at half time, the Cabrillo Seahawks then scored a touchdown in the second half to take the lead 21-17. It was muddy and time was running out but our Quarterback, Dave Whitmire threw Dave Mogni the perfect pass to get an eight-yard touchdown to win the championship,” Norton said.
Loren only played his freshman year. He attended the College of the Redwoods police academy and was later offered a job by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to be the bailiff constable in Hoopa.
Norton didn’t return to CR to play football but still remembers the fun they would have riding to games on the CR bus.
“CR had a real nice bus and we had to dress up in a suit and tie to travel to our games. I used to have to borrow my dad’s suit and tie. We sure had a lot of fun and we had really good camaraderie,” Norton said.
“Playing football taught me a lot. I learned about team effort. It’s not just about one person, it’s working together. I use that now working for Roads, it’s not just ‘I did it,’ it’s ‘we did it’ and I will always carry that with me,” Norton said.