Mark Lourenzo/Beacon Correspondent
The Ferndale Wildcats and the Fortuna Huskies experienced opposite results on the road this past weekend in football as critical league games start to shape the hierarchy in the Big 5 and Little 4 Conferences. As expected, the Ferndale Wildcats bounced the South Fork Cubs Friday in Miranda. The Cats rolled to 500 yards of offense, producing 50 points to the Cubs' 3 in the process. The win sets up a showdown between the Wildcats and the St. Bernard's Crusaders and the home game will highlight Ferndale's homecoming week festivities. Meanwhile it appears the Fortuna Huskies are snakebit when it comes to the Arcata Tigers as once again Husky turnovers early in their contest Friday night at Humboldt State University undermined their efforts for a road win.
The Huskies buried their own chances in the opening minutes, failing to secure possession on the game's opening kickoff. The Tigers converted the opportunity into a touchdown. That scenario repeated itself on the ensuing kickoff. When Fortuna finally ran an offensive play from scrimmage, the ball came loose and the Tigers secured the fumble. Fortuna found themselves on the wrong side of three turnovers and a 22-0 score.
Despite being able to gather themselves and play even ball the rest of the evening, the Huskies were never able to overcome the deficit on the scoreboard and the end result was a 38-18 loss. Fortuna's Kyle Wiegman caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jacob Hough in the second quarter. In the fourth period, Hough then finished off two drives with touchdown runs of his own for 2 and 12 yards, but it was too little too late for the Huskies. Fortuna drops to 2-2 in league and 4-3 overall. The Huskies will have a bye this weekend to regroup for the final push to the end of the regular season. On a high note, the Huskies' junior varsity team captured a 20-6 win over the Tigers to improve to 3-1 in the conference.
Also Friday night, the Ferndale Wildcats extended their Little 4 winning streak to 36 straight games with their 50-3 win over the South Fork Cubs. The Cats exploded for 500 yards of offense, by land and by air did Ferndale find success. Running back Kaden Zanone reached the end zone four times during the evening as he ran in three short touchdowns then streaked 61 yards on a screen pass from quarterback Kyle Chambers. Newest Wildcat wide receiver Wyatt Standley also caught a touchdown pass for the first score on the evening. He hauled in an offering from Chambers, out jumping the South Fork defender, then racing down the sideline to a 58-yard score.
Wildcat halfback Justin Lang returned to the lineup after being sidelined with a injury and looked like his old self, rushing for 61 yards on 8 carries. Fullback Ike Townsend rumbled to 41 yards on just two carries early in the contest before an injury sidelined him. Quarterback Kyle Chambers completed six of 11 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Ferndale scored two touchdowns in the opening quarter then three more in the second period. With the game decided early, the Cats gave the ball often to backup running back Zach Rocha and he answered with 14 carries for 96 yards on the ground.
The Cubs' offense found no success running the ball as six rushes produced no net yardage, so the Cubs went to the air. Quarterback Joey Wittlake aired it out 25 times, completing 12 passes for 77 yards of offense; that and six first downs was the extent of the Cub offense. Placekicker Levi Paine hit a 44-yard field goal to get the Cubs on the board. Ferndale's Zach Rocha picked off South Fork pass and Kaden Zanone recovered a Cub fumble that led to a Wildcat touchdown. The Ferndale JV stayed unbeaten in league as well with their 40-6 win. It all sets up a big showdown this Saturday as Ferndale hosts St. Bernard's with 1st place in league at stake.
The Crusaders have beat both Hoopa and South Fork by lopsided margins in previous weeks so look for a thriller of a ball game. "Yeah, they (SB) are balanced and have some good athletes, they're looking good so hopefully we'll be ready for them," said Wildcat head coach Kim Jorgensen earlier this week.
Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon
Wyatt Standley, the newest member of the Ferndale Wildcats varsity football team, wasted no time making his mark with this athletic catch Friday night in Miranda turned into a grab-and-go for a 58-yard touchdown.