By Ray Hamill — The Wildcats didn’t need a big second-half comeback this time around.
After a slow start at Fort Bragg last weekend, Ferndale had to rally in the second half to pull out a victory over the Timberwolves.
Hosting South Fork on Saturday, however, they were ready to go and came out on fire, scoring touchdowns on their opening six possessions on the way to a comprehensive 51-6 victory.
“We haven’t arrived yet, we’re still ascending to the top of the hill, but yeah, we are where we need to be now,” head coach Clint McClurg said. “Now we have a little bit of momentum, a little bit of confidence.”
The Cats dominated the first half, and they did so on both sides of the ball.
With the offensive line setting the tone, the Wildcats rushed for five TDs in the opening two quarters as well as scoring on a TD pass from QB Tanner Pidgeon to Prescott Langer and they carried an unsurmountable 41-point lead into the break.
Thomas Fergison got the party started on the opening possession of the game, running in from a yard out to cap a 16-play, 55-yard drive.
Trent Titus made it a three-TD lead less than a minute into the second quarter, finding the end zone on a nine-yard run.
A long punt return by Pidgeon on their next possession gave the Cats possession deep in South Fork territory and two plays later Pidgeon ran in from one yard out to make it a four-touchdown lead.
Pidgeon was involved in the next TD as well, this time throwing a short pass to fellow sophomore Langer, who took it 25 yards to the end zone.
Check out Tanner Pidgeon’s TD pass to Prescott Langer above …
Langer added a 15-yard TD run on the Cats’ next possession, a score that was set up by an Isaac Kasso interception.
The pick was one of two first-half takeaways for the home team, with Pidgeon also recovering a fumble to set up Langer’s first TD.
Pidgeon was involved on the final score of the half, throwing a successful two-point pass to Jonah Anderson.
Wes Renner and Anderson continued to run the ball effectively for the home team after the break, with Anderson adding a seventh TD in the fourth quarter.
Kicker Dayton Comer rounded out the scoring with a 24-yard field goal.
Once again, however, it was the play of the offensive line that paved the way to victory, with the unit of Ethan Weitzel, Kacey Luster, Skiler Hall, Andrew Clevenger, Juan Mena-Funes and tight end Levi Dixon impressing once again.
“Those guys have done an outstanding job,” McClurg said.
Defensively, the Cats gave up little to the visitors and they have now allowed just six points in the last six quarters of play.
“I was really pleased with the way our defense was able to handle some of their athletes in space,” the Ferndale head coach said. “I thought that was a real challenge for our defense and I thought they responded well.”
McClurg also praised the play of his sophomore quarterback, who is “getting more confident,” he said.
The Cubs dropped to 0-3 on the season.
Next up, the Cats will travel to Fortuna for the annual Milk Can showdown against the Huskies, while the Cubs will return home to host Clear Lake on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Ferndale JVs defeated Hoopa 20-6 to improve to 3-0.
With the Del Norte and St. Bernard’s JVs losing on Friday night, the young Cats are now the last remaining unbeaten JV team in the H-DNL.