By Ray Hamill — The Milk Can is headed back to Ferndale after the Wildcats defeated the Fortuna Huskies 27-13 in the annual rivalry showdown on Saturday afternoon.
The Cats took advantage of some early Fortuna turnovers and had two huge first-half defensive stops deep in their own territory, as they won the coveted trophy for the first time since 2019 and the first time on home soil since 2012.
“It was an awesome day in the Cream City,” said head coach Clint McClurg, whose JVs also won 21-7 and improved to 4-0 on the season.
With the Huskies driving on their opening possession of the game, Ferndale DB Thomas Fergison intercepted a Chad Mussey pass to set up the opening score, a one-yard TD run by Kannon Christiansen.
Turnovers were a problem for both teams early in the game.
Ferndale’s Trent Titus recovered a fumble on the Huskies’ next possession, but Fortuna’s Quinn Hall intercepted the ball just three plays later and returned it 64 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
Hall had a huge first half and came away with another interception just moments later, but the ensuing Huskies’ drive stalled deep in Ferndale territory when they turned the ball over on downs, with a Christiansen sack ending the threat.
Ferndale then drove 88 yards on 10 plays and re-took the lead on a six-yard TD run by Jack Westfall.
Fergison would add a third touchdown four minutes into the second quarter on a one-yard sneak, and the Wildcats would carry a 19-7 advantage into the interval thanks to their defense, which made another big stand deep in their own territory in the final minute of the half.
Westfall closed out the scoring on a four-yard TD run to cap a long time-consuming drive early in the fourth, as the home team ran out comfortable winners in the end.
Westfall and Christiansen were outstanding running the ball and they wore down the Fortuna defense and the clock behind a strong performance by the O-Line.
“Obviously, when you run the ball like that, everyone up front had a pretty good game for us,” McClurg said. “I just can’t speak highly enough about these young men and how they responded (to the early setbacks).”
It all began with the offensive line of Juan Mena, Andrew Clevenger, Kacey Luster, Skiler Hall and Braxton Zaugg.
“They really, really stepped up,” McClurg said of the unit. “They had monster games and controlled the line of scrimmage.”
The coach also praised the play of Titus, who has become an integral part of the team.
“Trent Titus is a ball hog,” he said. “Whenever he makes a tackle he’s physical, and when he makes contact he’s coming for the ball.”
Among the highlights for the Huskies, Rogan Gans had two receptions for for 32 yards and Will Stringer had two for 25.
Mussey completed 5 of 10 passes for 78 yards, while Caden Wilkensen had three carries for 23 yards.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 2-2, while the Huskies dropped to 1-3.