Wildcats looking to upset the odds at No. 1 Clear Lake

Photos by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com – The Wildcats will play at Clear Lake on Friday night.

By Ray Hamill — One of the most storied programs in H-DNL history will play for a place in a North Coast Section championship game for the first time since 2019 on Friday night.

Fresh off an impressive 41-13 win at St. Helena last week, the Ferndale Wildcats will travel to play a higher seed for the second straight weekend when they play their Division-7 semifinal at Clear Lake.

And the No. 5 Wildcats will have their hands full going up against the top seeds in the division and a team that has won nine of its 10 games this fall.

Clear Lake is also ranked 22 spots ahead of Ferndale in the NCS, according to MaxPreps, with the Cardinals No. 37 this week and the Wildcats No. 59.

None of that, however, will bother the Ferndale players, who will carry plenty of momentum into the big showdown.

Last week, they rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit at St. Helena and pulled away in the second half with 35 unanswered points.

With injuries taking their toll in recent weeks, it’s been a case of next man up for Ferndale, something the smallest of the nine football schools in the H-DNL is well accustomed to.

And historically that’s worked out well for the Wildcats, who boast far more NCS success than any other H-DNL team with 13 section championships, the last of which they won in 2012.

If they are to cause an upset and knock off the higher seeds, the Cats’ defense will have to be ready to go against a Cardinals offense that has been held below 30 points just once in their nine wins and come into the game averaging 47 points a game in those wins.

The top seeds had a bye last week.

The winner of Friday’s game will advance to play either No. 2 Willits of No. 3 Kelseyville in next week’s Division-7 final.

Friday’s game will be streamed live on the NFHS Network.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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