High-flying Cats firing on all cylinders

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Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – Ferndale’s DJ Albee in action at Hoopa on Friday night.

The Wildcats have found a perfect balance on offense, and it’s overwhelming the rest of the Little 4.

On Friday night, they were at it again, getting the better of the Warriors in Hoopa by a score of  59-30 to take over sole possession of top spot in the conference standings.

In their opening two games, the Cats (2-0 in the L4) have put up 104 points, marching on their opponents with relative ease.

“We’re really trying to establish the running game. It’s our brand of football,” Ferndale head coach Clint McClurg said. “And after we were able to do that, our play action passing is very successful.”

The Cats are firing on all cylinders, at all positions.

Even without standout lineman Orion Benton, they are dominating in the trenches, while quarterback Jenner Christiansen is maturing at a fast pace and is surely among the most improved at his position on the North Coast this fall.

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“Jenner Christiansen is really just making smart decisions,” McClurg said.

Add to that an abundance of playmakers, led by the ever-dangerous Landon Gomes, as well as a tight end who is playing outstanding football right now, and you’ve got a perfect balance on offense.

And that shows in the scoring.

The Warriors took the lead on the second play from scrimmage, when receiver Carlos Aguilar pulled in a wonderful 45-yard reception from quarterback John Smith.

The advantage was short-lived, however, with the Ferndale marching right down the field and tying the game on the first of two early Gomes TDs.

Gomes would add a second TD early in the second quarter to give his team the lead and Ferndale never looked back.

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Tight end Tristen Martin added two TD catches form Christiansen, while the Wildcats showcased their depth with TD runs from several different players, including Lane Branstetter, Nico Alejandre, Colson Renner and DJ Albee.

Martin, in particular, has emerged as one of the top offensive threats in the conference.

“He put a lot of time and effort in the offseason,” McClurg said of the senior standout. “He has the best hands on our team.”

In the absence of two starting linemen — Benton and Rex Rolff — several players stepped up for Ferndale, including Caden Rocha, who continues to play well despite a lingering injury, as well as Bryce Bell, Hunter Bell and Taner Zanone.

And in particular Dominic Regli, who has been playing at a consistently high level all season, and had a couple of big sacks on Friday.

“These guys really did step up,” McClurg said.

Gomes too was again outstanding and a handful for opposing defenses.

“When we get Gomes going, it really opens up the play book,” the head coach said.

No scoring details or stats were available for Hoopa, which is now 1-1 in the Little 4 and 2-3 overall.

Ferndale is now 4-2 overall.

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