By Ray Hamill — The Ferndale Wildcats pulled out a thrilling 45-38 win over Arcata at the Redwood Bowl on Friday night, scoring the winning touchdown with a little over a minute remaining in the game.
The Cats came from behind twice in the second half, capping a memorable Little 4 opener with Lane Branstetter’s game-clinching five-yard touchdown run.
After leading throughout the first half, it appeared the game was getting away from Ferndale midway through the third quarter when the Tigers scored 16 points in 40 seconds on back-to-back Kien Mazzotti touchdown runs and two-point conversion runs.
But the Cats answered immediately in emphatic fashion when Landon Gomes took the ensuing kickoff the length of the field to leave the teams tied at 30-30 going into the fourth quarter.
That’s when things got even more interesting.
The Cats re-took the lead on a short Gomes TD run, his third of the game, before the home team responded with a 16-yard TD pass from quarterback Mathew Robinson to Niko Zambas and another Mazzotti two-point conversion run, putting the Tigers back in front 38-37.
Not to be out-done, the Wildcats responded once again with a brilliant three-play, game-clinching drive.
On the first play of the drive Christiansen found Nico Alejandre on a deep pass, setting up Branstetter’s game-clinching run up the middle to the end zone just two plays later.
The Cats capped the drive with a two-point conversion pass from Christiansen to tight end Tristen Martin.
For more on Friday night’s game, see Cats win a thriller at Arcata to open L4 …