Tigers win at Ferndale to put themselves back in the mix

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While some people around the league may have written them off a little prematurely, the Arcata Tigers clearly aren’t ready to throw the towel in just yet.

On Saturday, the Tigers put themselves right back in the hunt for a league title with an impressive 26-16 win at Ferndale.

The win was the first for Arcata in a month and ended a two-game losing skid, as the Tigers improved to 2-4 on the season and more importantly are now 1-1 in league.

“It seems things are starting to click,” head coach Matt Magers said. “We had a rough start and played some tough opponents, but we’re finally starting to see the run game get going and the pass game get going.”

The addition of junior quarterback Cole Vandenplas, who was making just his third start on Saturday, has definitely helped.

Vandenplas is one of several young players who have been stepping up their game recently and he threw for three touchdown passes against the Wildcats.

“He’s starting to read the field well,” Magers said of Vandenplas, who made his first start two weeks ago against a St. Bernard’s team that dominated the line of scrimmage. “After being thrown into the fire, now he’s starting to feel the pressure good, he’s getting out of the pocket and he’s seeing the field and seeing the defense.”

Vandenplas threw his first TD pass of the night to Oscar Carlson right before halftime, and the visitors took a 13-0 lead into the break.

He added TD throws to Lennon Gieder and Cedar Birdsall in the second half, as the Tigers kept the home team at bay.

Wilson Medina also scored on a 44-yard TD run to give Arcata an early lead.

A young Tigers defense also had a big afternoon, and “played phenomenal,” according to the head coach.

Arcata is loaded with a stellar sophomore class, and two of them — Cal Tucker and Jackson Strand — had key takeaways against the Cats offense.

“Ferndale played a physical game, they really wanted it,” Magers said. “Hats off to those guys. They gave us a run for our money.”

The win leaves the Tigers just one win behind the league-leading McKinleyville Panthers (2-0), who they play next week.

A victory over their biggest rivals would catapult the defending champs to the top the standings.

“I’m excited to se how it turns out,” Magers said of this year’s league. “It’s competitive.”

Categories: Arcata, Ferndale, Football

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