Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

The Ferndale Wildcats football team showed a tremendous amount of improvement just in time for their season opener and dominated the Arcata Tigers by a final score of 61-7 on Saturday. The Cats as well as the Tigers faced a rebuilding year as each school experienced great success in the 2012 season however, much of that success was due to a strong senior class for both schools. In an unusual situation, Ferndale did not participate in the annual Little 4 Jamboree, where coaches and players get their first live action of the new football season. Instead, the Wildcats were forced to travel to Weaverville to scrimmage teams at Trinity High School. There the Cats faced off against Trinity and Etna High and frankly were not very impressive in their debut. But what a good week of practice will do for a young football team; Ferndale looked in mid-season form against Arcata.

In their dominating performance, the Wildcats rolled up 555 yards of offense to the Tigers' 63 net yards. The Cats dominated the line of scrimmage and played near mistake free ball with no turnovers and minimal penalties. Ferndale has always had a knack for playing opportunistic football and their first six possessions led to touchdowns and a 41-0 lead by halftime. Whether by quick strike or sustained drive, nothing kept the Cats out of the opposing end zone except the halftime buzzer which halted their seventh possession of the game. Senior fullback Ike Townsend opened the scoring with his 2-yard smash to pay dirt just four offensive plays into the game. That score was set up by a 52-yard pass reception for Wildcat quarterback Kyle Chambers to wideout Brad Martin.

Chambers, Townsend and Martin would continue to play big roles in the outcome as next up was quarterback Kyle Chambers' 10-yard rushing touchdown. Wide receiver Wyatt Standley later took a handoff and zigzagged 81 yards through the Tiger defense to another touchdown and Ike Townsend added a 30 yards rushing TD before the end of the 1st quarter. Standley then added another score of the arial variety as Chambers hooked up with his wide receiver in the Arcata end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Sophomore runningback Cody Allen then erupted for two successive touchdowns as his 52-yard streak to the endzone closed out the first half scoring and his 18-yard rushing TD opened the second half scoring.

Taking over as quarterback, Brad Martin ran in a keeper of 35 yards and backup running back Briceland Franklin streaked 60 yards to the Arcata endzone in the final period of play. Arcata finally broke onto the scoreboard with a 31-yard touchdown run by fullback Connor Cox. The Ferndale defense had kept Cox and fellow running back Tyler Keil in check all game long and when the Tigers choose to air the ball out, Wildcat safety Kyle Chambers snagged two interceptions to discourage that notion.

It will just get harder from here for the Ferndale Wildcats. Up next in their challenging schedule will be a trip to Oakland to take on McClymonds High School.

”We'll be facing a very different team this weekend, they run the spread offense and they're pretty good at it, so we will see how that goes,” predicted Wildcat head coach Kim Jorgensen as the team prepared this week for what lies ahead.

The Ferndale junior varsity also got their season off to a winning note last Saturday. The Cats jumped to a 21-0 lead by halftime of their game against the Arcata Tigers, then held on during a wild second half for a 43-16 victory.

Ferndale JV quarterback Nathan Hansen opened the scoring with a shot yardage sneak. Fullback Clayton Wiseman followed with a sweep run to the endzone. It would be the first of three rushing touchdowns for Wiseman on the day as he later added runs of 13 yards and 3 yards to the opposing end zone. Lee O'Reilly had a nifty 45 yard touchdown run in the second quarter and quarterback Hansen added a 5-yard scoring run in the opening minutes of the final period. Arcata had made it interesting when they came out after the half with intention of a comeback. Tiger running back Christopher Vargas had some impressive runs to set up Arcata's first score. Quarterback Adam Huschle threw a 15-yard touchdown to receiver Brandon Sloss. Huschle later hooked up with Marcus Stachel for a 41-yard touchdown catch and run. However, in quarters 1, 2 and 4, it was all Wildcats.

Photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Ferndale junior varsity fullback Clayton Wiseman (left) gets the handoff from quarterback Nathan Hansen (center) and a lead block from halfback Ryan Earley, as the Cats turn the play into a 13-yard touchdown in Saturday's matchup against the Arcata Tigers. Wiseman scored 3 touchdowns on the day and the Wildcats cruised to the win over the Tigers in their season opener.

2. Arcata Tiger JV defender Stephen Zazueta (15) goes for the interception as he battles Ferndale wide receiver Ryan Earley (center) for the pigskin. While the pass fell incomplete as the Tigers prevailed on the play, the Wildcats prevailed on the scoreboard, 43-16. The Ferndale varsity followed suit with their decisive 61-7 victory over the Tigers, the action took place in the Cream City on the opening weekend of the high school football season.