Wildcats bounce Crusaders to stay unbeaten in league; junior varsity wins in a thriller

Mark Lourenzo

Beacon Correspondent

Opportunistic, efficient and determined, the Ferndale Wildcats used all those attributes to defeat league foe St. Bernard's this past Saturday in the Cream City. The Cats were opportunistic when it came to Crusader turnovers as four steals by Ferndale led directly to four touchdowns. Upstart St. Bernard's also found Ferndale to be efficient as the Wildcats used big plays to gobble up big chucks of yardage and wasted no time in reaching paydirt when it counted most. Lastly the Wildcats proved to be determined as the first turnover of the game was at the expense of a Ferndale mistake. The Cats just dug in and forced a Crusader turnover to turn the tide in the opposite direction.

Indeed the St. Bernard's Crusaders got the first break in the Little 4 showdown for first place last Saturday. Wildcat quarterback Kyle Chambers was intercepted by Crusader defensive back Shed Bean to end Ferndale's first possession of the contest. Just five plays later Ferndale reversed their fortunes as Wildcat defensive end Hunter Van Emmerik sacked SB quarterback Patrick Allen and caused a fumble, which Van Emmerik then recovered. Another five plays later, the Wildcats cashed in on a Chambers pass to wideout Wyatt Standley for a 17-yard touchdown pass. It was the second week in a row that Standley has made a circus catch for a touchdown for the first points of a Wildcats league game.

Ferndale was not done yet, as the next St. Bernard's possession also ended in a turnover. Three play into the Crusader drive, Wildcat linebacker Kaden Zanone intercepted a pass and two plays later Zanone sprinted 40 yards to a touchdown. Now that is an opportunistic and efficient ball club. The first quarter ended with a Jacoby Hughes interception of a Crusader pass attempt and Ferndale holding a 14-0 lead. Though it took several plays, the Cats cashed in off of that turnover as once again Zanone broke into the open field scoring from 27 yards out this time. Place kicker Chris Catana added the PAT boot and the Cats led 21-0. Midway through the second period Ferndale converted yet another possession, this time QB Kyle Chambers snuck in across the goal line from two yards out.

The end of the second quarter and the beginning of the 3rd period saw the Crusaders answer back and play their best ball of the day. St. Bernard's converted a 13 play drive into a Nick Genevro touchdown run to post six points on the scoreboard before halftime. Then SB defender Patrick Allen intercepted a Wildcat pass in the opening minutes of the 3rd quarter. The Crusaders then reeled off another long drive ended by a scoring pass from QB Christian Mello to Oscar Pimentel of five yards. At 27-13, it would be as close at St. Bernard's would get as all the big plays belonged to the Cats after that. Kaden Zanone added a 6-yard touchdown run and Jacoby Hughes pulled in his second interception of the afternoon.

However, this time Hughes went one better as he ran back the pickoff 42 yards to the SB end zone. Kyle Chambers added one final interception and the afternoon was complete with a 39-13 victory. The win breaks the tie at the top of the Little 4 and alone sits the Ferndale Wildcats. Prior to the varsity contest was a thrilling 23-16 win by the junior varsity Cats over the Crusaders. That game was also for the top spot in league. Ferndale's Kyle Isaacs recovered a SB fumble with a minute to play in a scoreless first quarter. That turnover resulted in a 3-yard touchdown run by Wildcat halfback Cody Allen, who got a clearing lead block by fullback Clayton Wiseman. Allen followed with an interception of a Crusader pass but the Cats couldn't cash in this time.

St. Bernard's converted a long drive into a touchdown just before the half and the Crusaders led 8-7 after a two-point conversion. The Crusaders coughed up their first chance of the second half, this time brother Ryan Isaacs recovered the fumble. A 3-yard touchdown run by Wildcat quarterback Bradley Martin resulted. St. Bernard's answered with a touchdown run by Brandon White and a 16-15 lead. After a long scoreless stretch, Cody Allen reached paydirt for the Cats with his touchdown run with less than two minutes to play. The Ferndale defense held firm and the game ended with a Kyle Isaacs sack of the Crusader quarterback.

Photo by Mark Lourenzo/Beacon

Ferndale Wildcat defensive lineman Hunter Van Emmerik rips down St. Bernard's quarterback Patrick Allen, causing a fumble, which Van Emmerik also recovered. The turnover led to the first score of Saturday's game and big plays were the order of the day in the Wildcats 39-13 homecoming win over the Crusaders in Ferndale.