By Ray Hamill — The Hoopa Valley Warriors ended a 42-game losing streak to the Ferndale Wildcats three weeks ago.
They got an even more impressive win on Saturday.
The Warriors traveled to Ferndale and knocked off their old nemesis for the second time in three weeks, this time coming away with a 32-0 win.
It was impressive for a number of reasons, most notably on the defensive side of the ball, where the Warriors posted their first shutout since October 2011 when they defeated South Fork 72-0.
“I felt like we had a great game plan coming in and the kids executed it very well,” Hoopa head coach William Simms said. “They each had specific jobs, that’s something we worked on this week, and we knew if we did our assignments on every play, then we would come out on top.”
The win also guarantees the Warriors at least a .500 record this season, which should be good enough for a first postseason berth since 2011.
And it sets up a league deciding showdown at Arcata next week, with the winner of that game guaranteed at least a share of the Little 4.
Reynolds steps up again
William Reynolds was instrumental in the win and is enjoying an outstanding league campaign.
Reynolds scored three touchdowns, including an 80-yard kickoff return to start the second half.
It was Reynolds’ second kickoff return for a TD in three games.
He also scored on a first-quarter 30-yard reception from quarterback John Smith, as well as on a 17-yard run in the second quarter to give his team a 12-0 lead at the interval.
Defensive tackle Kimit Peters also scored on an interception returned for a TD.
“They executed very well on defense,” Simms said of his players.
Smith has established himself as the team’s quarterback, starting the past three games, and had another productive day passing the ball, finding Jasper Hostler on a TD pass for the second straight week.
The win lifts the Warriors to 5-3 on the season and 3-1 in the Little 4, and leaves them tied with Arcata for the league lead.
With just two games remaining, next weekend’s game at the Redwood Bowl now takes on huge implications.
The Tigers won the first matchup between the two teams 24-16 at Hoopa on Sept. 29.
“I don’t expect anything less than high intensity football from Arcata,” Simms said. “Coach Jamal Jones and his staff have done a phenomenal job.”
With the loss, the Cats drop to 2-2 in the Little 4 and 3-5 overall.
The Cats host McKinleyville next weekend.