By Ray Hamill — The Ferndale Wildcats kept pressure on Little 4 leaders Arcata with a comfortable win over Hoopa in the Cream City on Saturday.
One week after losing a heartbreaker to Arcata, the Wildcats responded with their second league win, beating the Warriors 50-0 to go to 2-1 in the L4.
Also in action on Saturday, St. Vincent de Paul broke open a tight game at Crusader Field late with 24 unanswered points on the way to beating St. Bernard’s 45-21.
On Friday night, the South Fork Cubs got their first win of the season at Tomales, rolling over the Braves 46-0.
The Cubs, who are now 1-1 in league and 1-5 overall, took control of the game early with a punt return for a touchdown and an interception returned for a TD, giving them a 16-0 lead before their offense even took the field.
Also on Friday, the Arcata Tigers welcomed back senior quarterback Cole Vandenplas to the lineup after an injury layoff and he responded with a six-touchdown day in a 44-6 win over McKinleyville.
On senior night, Vandenplas connected with fellow senior Oscar Carlson for three TD passes as the Tigers improved to 3-0 in league and 5-2 overall.
At Ferndale, the Wildcats started fast and quickly took control of a pivotal league showdown against the Warriors, scoring three TDs on their opening three possessions to lead 21-0 with 90 seconds still remaining in the opening quarter.
They never looked back on the way to improving to 4-3 overall and they remain just one game behind Arcata in he Little 4 standings with three games still to go for each.
Sophomore quarterback Tanner Pidgeon threw early TD passes to Isaak Kasso for 54 yards and Prescott Langer for 68 yards, while teammate Trent Titus added an eight-yard TD run, all in the opening 11 minutes of the game.
The Warriors, who had seven turnovers for the day, dropped to 1-2 in league and 2-5 overall.
“We came out in the second half and we held them pretty good,” Hoopa head coach Floyd “Cowboy” Billings said. “It was a good half to see, I just wish we had played like that in the first half.”
“They ran the ball off tackle well,” the Hoopa coach said. “(Ferndale head coach Clint) McClurg had a good game plan. They moved my defense around pretty good.”
The Warriors had better luck in the JV game, running out to a 22-6 win over Ferndale to take control of the Little 4.
Halfway through the league schedule, Hoopa is one game clear of the chasing pack at 3-0, while Ferndale dropped to 2-1.
The victory for Hoopa avenged a loss to the Wildcats earlier in the season.
Also in JV action this weekend, St. Bernard’s defeated St. Vincent de Paul 46-14 and the McKinleyville Panthers got their first win of the season, beating Arcata 52-12.
The Panthers are now 1-2 in the Little 4, while the Tigers drop to 0-3 in league.
The Big 4 kicks off next week for JVs and varsity, with Eureka playing at Del Norte and St. Bernard’s hosting Fortuna on Saturday afternoon in a highly-anticipated showdown.
Also next week, the Arcata Tigers will play the first of three straight road games when they travel to Hoopa, while McKinleyville will host Ferndale.
The South Fork Cubs will try to make it two straight wins when they host Calistoga in a homecoming game.