The Hoopa Valley Warriors opened the Little 4 with one of their most impressive wins in almost a quarter of a century on Friday night.
The Warriors knocked off visiting Ferndale 36-26, the first time they have gotten the better of the Wildcats since 1995, a span of 42 consecutive games.
“It’s huge for us,” Hoopa head coach William Simms said. “It’s 23 years.”
The Hoopa players were clearly up for the occasion from the opening kickoff, turning in a strong team effort on both sides of the ball.
“We played together as a team,” Simms said. “We all just did our jobs.”
Junior receiver Carlos Aguilar had another big performance, with a pair of TD receptions, one from quarterback Tristin Campbell and one from John Smith on a reverse.
Leonard Smith also had a big night, with some inspiring runs to lift his team, as did Jasper Hostler at receiver.
Running back Willie Reynolds added a long TD run from about 70 yards.
Leonard Smith and Campbell each also had a TD run.
Even more impressive was the play of the defensive line, with Milton Mabry, Kimit Peters, Aidan Mendes, George Nixon and Weyk-seyr’ Hutchinson all contributing.
“Our D-line played phenomenal,” Simms said. “Everyone we played was able to do their job.”
Key to the win was containing Ferndale quarterback Landon Gomes.
With the win, the Warriors improve to 3-2, while the Cats fall to 1-4.
Hoopa hosts Arcata next week, while Ferndale heads to McKinleyville.