Ferndale Wildcats dominate St. Bernard's in football; Cats sit along atop league standings

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

Many accolades come to mind when reflecting on the Ferndale Wildcats win over the St. Bernard's Crusaders last Saturday afternoon in Eureka. Decisive yes, even dominating was the Cats victory over the previously unbeaten Crusaders as the two teams battled it out for Little Four supremacy. Small schools powerhouse Ferndale with a school attendance of around 150 put Division V up-start St. Bernard's in their place, witnessed by a large home crowd hoping to observe a history making win. It had been 21 games dating back to Oct. 31, 1998 since the last Crusader win, the Cats just went about their business of playing football and made it 22 straight.

The Wildcats really took the "big play" to new heights in the game, as just when it looked that the Crusaders had Ferndale in a tough situation, the Cats would hit for a huge play that put more points on the board until it just became routine. Such was the case on the Cats first possession of the ballgame. After a quick four and out by St. Bernard's, the Ferndale offense appeared to be going nowhere on their first few plays of the game. Up stepped Ferndale quarterback Travis Rye on 3rd and long as he lofted a perfectly placed pass to a streaking Kaden Zanone, that turned into a 55-yard touchdown.

Although it took Ferndale into the 2nd quarter before it would add more points on the board, the Wildcat defense kept the opponents at bay. An interception by Wildcat Jacoby Hughes ended one Crusader possession and Chris Catana's sack of S.B. quarterback Dexter Rice ended another Crusader drive. Just into the 2nd period, the Cats struck again, this time on a more sustained drive. After mixing the run and the pass, Rye found tight end Isaac Townsend on a quick-hitter over the middle for a 8-yard touchdown pass. A trick play 2 point conversion came as Rye threw to Zanone in the end zone for a 14-0 lead for Ferndale.

St. Bernard's went back to work on offense just to find itself in a punting situation again. Crusader punter Rolo Olivares put the Wildcats in a hole with a booming kick but matter not as Ferndale took possession on their own 12-yardline and marched 88 yards to another score. After impressive runs by Justin Lang, Zanone and Hughes, the Cats finished off an 11 play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Kaden Zanone. Chris Catana added to his great day on defense with a fumble recovery on the next St. Bernard's possession and the Cats followed with another big play on offense.

Just prior to the half, Ferndale quarterback Travis Rye hit for his 3rd touchdown pass of the half as he hooked up again with Zanone, this time for a 25-yard score. The clock read double zeros as the Lang kicked the PAT and the Cats led 28-0 going into the locker room. The half-time talk did little to change the momentum as the Cats came out to take the field for the 2nd half and Justin Lang returned the opening kickoff 78-yards to the house. Two touchdowns on successive plays by the Cats in two different halves.

St. Bernard's followed with another punt and Ferndale followed with another touchdown as Zanone scored his 4th of the day on a 19-yard scamper. Ferndale recovered from several loose balls by the offense, losing three fumbles to the Crusaders. Instead it was the Wildcats who took advantage of turnovers as next up was lineman Wyatt Townsend's fumble recovery of a Crusader botched punt, as he scooped up the ball and ran the remaining 7-yards to the end zone. Little brother Isaac closed out the scoring, running 14 yards to the final touchdown for the Cats.

Justin Lang kicked six successful PATs in the game and was the leading rusher as well with 82-yard on 11 carries. The Cats really spread the ball around as Zanone had 67-yards, Jacoby Hughes gained 77-yards and Ferndale totaled 255 yards on the ground. As a team the Cats gained 147-yards through the air as Rye went 6 for 8 and Kyle Chambers added a 4th quarter 30-yard pass to wideout Louis Sterback. The Ferndale defense limited St. Bernard's to 44 net yards on 30 running plays and a mere 98-yards of total offense for the Crusaders.

Not much challenge appears on the horizon for the Ferndale Wildcats as they are slated to go through the league schedule once again starting with the hosting of Hoopa this Saturday. To not let down and to stay healthy will be the objective over the next few weeks for Ferndale, that and to avoid any upset losses to those league opponents.

The JV Wildcats lost a tough one to the St. Bernard's Crusaders last weekend. The Cats are surely operating on a limited roster and came up short by a score of 22-20. The contest was tight throughout and the ending got a little wild as the Cats sought to come from behind. Ferndale was down by two points, but it was the Crusaders who instead came up with a big touchdown with a little more than two minutes left in the game.

The Cats answered that score with a touchdown of their own as Zach Rocha ran in a 3-yard touchdown, followed by quarterback Jared Meyers pass to Briceland Franklin for a two point conversion. However, an onside kickoff attempt was recovered by St. Bernard's to put an end to the contest. The JV Cats will look to get back on the winning side when they host Hoopa, the last game on the Warriors home field was a thrilling win by the Cats.

photo captions:

photos by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

1. Ferndale running back Kaden Zanone picks his way through the St. Berndard's defense after teammate Travis Rye (background) clears a path with a solid down field block. Zanone scored four touchdowns on the afternoon and the Wildcats dominated the Crusaders in their 56-0 win.

2. Sophomore tight end Isaac Townsend elevates to pull in a pass from Wildcat quarterback Travis Rye in Saturday's league contest at St. Bernard's. Townsend made the catch, turned and took a step into the Crusader end zone for a 8-yard touchdown reception in Ferndale's 56-0 win.

3. Ferndale's Jacoby Hughes rips off a gain as St. Bernard's Billy Bean (33) looks to grab some jersey in hopes of bringing him down. Hughes gained 20-yards on the play and set up a Wildcat touchdown just prior to the half, the Cats ran off with a lopsided league win, 56-0 over the Crusaders.