The future appears bright for Ferndale football.
On Sunday, the Mustangs celebrated a pair of Six Rivers Youth Football Conference championships, winning both the AA and AAA titles at Husky Field in Fortuna.
The association’s AAA team capped a memorable playoff run with a 6-0 over the Redwood Knights, while the AA team completed an undefeated season with a 24-6 win over Eel River.
“We’re just very excited about how everything went,” Ferndale Youth Football president Lucas Titus said. “We had a great turnout after a year off. We had the most kids in AA and AAA that we’ve had in a long time.”
The Eel River Huskies won the Single-A championship and also closed out their season undefeated.
The AAA Mustangs had to win three playoffs games for their championship, including games against the top two seeds.
They allowed just 12 points total in those three games, including just six against the top two seeds.
“Our defense was our strong suit throughout the year,” head coach Levi Buck said. “They played great defense They swarmed the ball.”
Quarterback Tanner Pidgeon scored the team’s only touchdown of the day on a QB sneak, capping a very strong individual season on both sides of the ball.
At linebacker, Pidgeon also had a big forced fumble strip in the third quarter, just as the Knights were driving and building momentum.
“That really helped,” Buck said of the play. “He’s just a gamer and he stepped up and made the play.”
Pidegeon, however, was far from the only standout for the champions.
Linebacker Luke Dixon led the team in tackles, including four for a loss, and he did a good job defending the Knight’s passing game.
“He’s very explosive, very quick to the ball,” Buck said of Dixon, who is only a seventh grader.
Middle linebacker Donald Hostler also had a big game, as did safety Tyson Evanow and shutdown corner Rolland McClurg.
“Tyson really came along throughout the season,” Buck said of Evanow, who led the team in interceptions. “He really progressed and he probably averaged an interception every game.”
Prescott Langer, Colton Renner, Makai Donald, Tyler Broderick, Aidan Ayers, Garyn McClurg, Aaron Thurston, Tristen Titus, Austin Stowell, Christian Hostler, Ethan Weitzel, Ruben Peredia, Mason Garrett and Daniel Buck each also played a big role for the team this year.
“They’re just well-behaved, well-mannered kids and they’re very coachable,” Buck said of the team.
The head coach also praised the contributions of his assistant coaches — Jon Losa (DBs), Nate Coppini (offensive coordinator) and Brandon Brazil (offensive and defensive lines) — as well as the Ferndale youth football board.
“All three of them were huge contributors,” he said of his staff. “We appreciate the support we get from the board and everything they do. It’s a really well-organized program that puts the kids first.”
AA Mustangs close out undefeated
The Mustangs closed out a perfect season in AA with a 24-6 win over Eel River in Sunday’s championship game.
After rolling through the regular season with seven wins in seven games, the Mustangs outscored their two playoff opponents 50-12 on the way to the championship.
“We’ve got some pretty strong running backs and a big offensive line,” Titus said. “And they ran the ball well and executed.
“And defensively they tackled and didn’t allow the big play.”
Luke Christensen, Cade Renner, Derek Buehler, Ryker Renner, Joshua Hindley Jr., Cash Mobley, Landon Costa, Preston Killingsworth, Cody Frank, Julian Hanly, Greyson Mathews, Kasen Hardwick, Obadiah Gobel, Gary Robinson, Jr., Shane Tait, Jordan Maloney, Gregory Fitzgerald, Bodey Swanson, Robert Rondoni, Ellis Daniels and Jayce Robinson all played a major role for their team this year.
Jesse Renner was the head coach, with Sterling Renner, Blake Miranda and Devin Nilsen also on the staff.
Eel River wins single-A championship
The young Eel River players capped a first-ever season playing football with a championship on Sunday, defeating McKinleyville 13-6.
The victory also closes out a perfect campaign for the Huskies who finished the season with a record of 8-0.
But they had to battle on Sunday, barely edging a tough Mack team and holding on late for the win.
“They came and they brought it on the McKinleyville side,” Eel River head coach Trevor Maniaci said. “It was a really good game.”
Bryson Maniaci and Bo Stacy each scored a touchdown in the win, but it was a complete team effort that led to the perfect season.
“The whole team, they’ve got such a good bond going on right now,” the head coach said. “It’s everybody’s first year this year and the amount of stuff they were able to learn from the beginning of the year to the end was pretty astronomical.”
The Huskies played well in all three phases of the game, recovering an onside kick on special teams, coming away with an interception on defense and scoring two TDs on offense.
“And hats off to McKinleyville,” Trevor Maniaci said. “They played well.”
In addition to Bryson Maniaci and Bo Stacy, the Huskies also got big contributions this season from Tony Abeyta, Jace Biondin, Ryker Braud, Raanan Bruckner, Jace Conley, Joseph Cooke, Alexi Fonseca, Mason Goff, Reza Kadivar, John Lyman, Garrison Morris, Dax Parrot, Jaxon Rasmussen, Branson Rumley, Weston Shaw, Wyatt Shaw, Mason Solano, Ryder Sweany, Maysen Towne-Fausone, Chance Varela and Kasen Ward.
The team coaching staff included Tim Abeyta, Kyle Conley, Paul Morris, Joe Quen and Justin Sweany.
The Huskies Single-A cheer squad also enjoyed a successful season and included Kaomi Acasio, Autumn Atkins, Heaven Butler, Emma Davidson, Noa Hansen, Lilly Miller, Mackenzie Mora, Delilah Morales, Scarlett Mullens, Aurura Peugh, Alsie Sanderson, Aubrey Skelton, Scarlett Sullivan, Vivian Sweaney, Temperance Torrez, Emilyn Wilson and Alexa Rodriguez.
The Huskies mascots included Roan Henson, Kai-Li Huey, Daniella Neal, Aisly Newcomb, Amillia Rohme, Byrdie Shinn and Daisy Vaughn.