Big second half lifts Ferndale past Willits

It’s safe to say the Ferndale Wildcats rediscovered their offense on Saturday afternoon.

After being shut out in the season opener at Del Norte two weeks ago by a score of 40-0, the Cats responded with a dominating 55-25 win over Willits in their second game.

Ferndale scored 34 unanswered second-half points, including 28 in the third quarter alone, pulling away from the visiting Wolverines and improving to 1-1 on the season.

There were plenty of standouts for Ferndale, none more so than quarterback Landon Gomes, who threw for four TDs on offense, while adding a pick-six on the defensive side of the ball.

After a lackluster first half, the entire defense lifted their game after the interval.

“I felt our offense was successful in the first half, but our defense was struggling with giving up the big play,” said Ferndale head coach Clint McClurg, whose team led by just 21-19 at halftime. “So we made some adjustments, and I thought our defense really stepped up, creating some turnovers, and not just creating them, but capitalizing on them.”

Gio Magdaleno finished with a pair of touchdowns and an interception on defense, and “had a huge game on defense,” according to his coach, holding the Wolverines’ chief offensive threat in check for the second half.

Tristen Martin and Kyler Becksted each also had a touchdown in the win, while Rex Rolff had a big TD run thanks to some smart play by the offensive line.

“They made a blocking adjustment on their own which sprung Rolff on a huge run,” McClurg said. “I’m proud of them.”

After a tough first outing at Del Norte, the Cats’ O-line had an outstanding afternoon against Willits, with Dominic Regli (LT), Ben Wilma (LG), Orion Benton (C), Haven Harrington (RG), Cody Collins (RT) and Martin at tight end all contributing.

The Cats will host Fortuna next weekend in the annual Milk Can Game.

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