FERNDALE -- Although there were 78 combined points, seven turnovers and three defensive touchdowns, this matchup was decided in the trenches.
Ferndale's offensive line helped its running backs rush 60 times for 321 yards as the Wildcats defeated Calistoga 50-28 in Saturday's North Coast Section Division 5 playoff game.
The primary recipient of the O-line's stout work was Kyle Chambers, who carried the rock 34 times for 210 yards and four touchdowns. The senior also threw a nine-yard TD pass to Ike Townsend and kicked four extra points.
”He came to play again,” Ferndale head coach Kim Jorgensen said about Chambers' third consecutive 200-plus yards rushing performance.
Chambers scored TDs on runs of one, 24 and four yards in the opening half, and then ran four yards in the third quarter.
”Their front was really strong, they outplayed us,” said Calistoga head coach Paul Harrell. “Both teams showed great sportsmanship. They just played football.”
With the victory, No. 3 seed Ferndale (8-3) will advance to a second-round road game against No. 2 seed Valley Christian (8-3) at Chabot College Friday at 7 p.m.
Ferndale built a 23-0 lead in the first 13 minutes of the game.
The Wildcats halted Calistoga's first drive and then drove 55 yards for their first points. Three minutes later, they tacked on two points when a bad snap on a Calistoga punt sailed out of the end zone.
Following the safety, the Red and White went 54 yards for its second TD, with the drive's big play being a 13-yard first down pass to Chase Richardson.
Just 23 seconds after a two-point conversion made it 15-0, Ferndale scored again, this time via linebacker Jesse Vanderpool's 57-yard pick six off an attempted middle screen.
Calistoga got on the board in the second quarter on Dylan Alvarado's 4-yard TD run. The two big plays in the drive were Orion Harrell's 21- and 32-yard passes to Danny Alfaro and Christian Ramirez.
Ferndale's Zach Rocha -- who rushed for 50 yards on eight carries -- intercepted Harrell's second-quarter pass and Chambers subsequently scored his third TD, putting Ferndale up 29-7. But in the waning seconds before intermission, the Red and White attempted a razzle-dazzle play but the ball was jarred loose for Calistoga's Walker Hughes to scoop-and-score from 45 yards away.
Ferndale started the third quarter with a 13-play, 71-yard drive that negated its mistake at the end of the first half.
”In the second half we had that opening drive and we got the momentum back,” said Jorgensen.
Only 89 seconds later, Jorgensen's defense produced its second TD. This time, it was Townsend alertly picking up a loose lateral in the right flat and rumbling 43 yards down the sideline to make it 43-14.
Townsend's 8-yard leaping TD grab in the fourth quarter provided the home team with its final points.
”He (Townsend) made a good play on that fumble recovery, and he had a nice catch in the end zone,” said Jorgensen.
Calistoga, who had difficulty running the ball -- with the exception of Alvarado's 72 yards on 18 carries -- primarily moved the chains via passing.
”With Orion being able to throw the ball it made it easier to run,” said Harrell.
Harrell completed 13 of 26 for 189 yards, including a nine-yard TD pass to Christian Ramirez in the fourth quarter. Ramirez had four catches for 108 yards, and Max Caldera caught four balls for 42 yards.
Alvarado added another 4-yard TD run, and also recovered a fumble in the third quarter.
Harrell acknowledged the good work of his seniors, whom he has coached since they were playing youth football in the fifth grade.
”You want to play on, but only one team gets to do that,” said Harrell, whose team ended its superb season with an 8-2 record.
1. Nick Adams/The Times-Standard
Ferndale downed Calistoga 50-28 at the North Coast Section Division 5 playoff game held Nov. 16.
2. Nick Adams/The Times-Standard
Ferndale's Kyle Chambers (2) had 200 yards rushing for a third straight game.