Squalicum let the phrase "new era" ring out for all to hear as the team broke from its postgame celebration.
And the Storm backed up those two coveted words Friday night, Oct. 10, in Ferndale, beating the Golden Eagles for the first time in program history.
By no means was it easy, though.
The Storm found itself in a back-and-forth, hard-hitting, four-quarter battle, but the resolve first-year Squalicum coach Nick Lucey has seen his team display all season showed up once more when the Storm needed to rise up.
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Following a Ferndale touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter, Storm senior quarterback Christian Jorgensen, who was limited to just one pass completion in the first half, connected with favorite target Ben Peterson for a beautiful, high-arcing 40-yard TD pass that put the Storm in front for good.
Squalicum's defense stopped Ferndale's possible game-tying drive, and the Storm spoiled the Golden Eagles' homecoming with a 24-17 Northwest Conference win that held extra meaning.
"First time in school history beating Ferndale, and we all owe it to Lucey; we all owe it to Lucey and all of the staff that he brought in," Squalicum senior linebacker/running back Jordan Campbell said. "It's just amazing."
Campbell and Nick Manchester led the Storm's rushing attack, which was featured heavily. Campbell compiled 43 yards on seven carries, and Manchester accounted for 59 yards and a score on 14 carries.
Jorgensen completed 7 of 13 passes for 157 yards and two TDs − one a 46 yarder on a wide receiver screen to Damek Mitchell and the other his deep ball to Peterson.
But it was Ferndale's Marcus Nightingale, who led the Golden Eagles (2-4, 2-2 NWC 2A/3A) with 30 rushes for 196 yards and a TD, that put the Storm in an early hole with his bruising running.
The Golden Eagles opened the game with a 10-play, 70-yard TD drive capped with a Nightingale score from 3 yards out. The senior back accounted for 64 of the 70 yards.
"Marcus was a hard hitter," Campbell said. "He's hard to bring down, and I give him a lot of credit. But our guys hit harder, and we came out with the win."
The Storm (4-2, 2-2 NWC 2A/3A) turned the tide early by capitalizing on a pair of huge Ferndale turnovers.
Squalicum, trailing 7-0, punted deep from its own territory early in the second quarter, but recovered a muffed punt and made the most of the second chance by driving 47 yards for a 3-yard TD ran in by Manchester.
The Storm then forced a three-and-out and used a Peterson 39-yard reverse to set up Quinn Carpenter's 18-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead into halftime.
Inability to produce inside Squalicum's red zone hurt Ferndale throughout the game. The Golden Eagles turned the ball over on downs on the Storm's 15 in the first half and were forced to settle for an Andrew Higginson-Fernandez 34-yard field goal with 8:24 left in the third to tie the game at 10-all.
Later in the third, Ferndale again drove to Squalicum's 15 but came up empty on a fourth-and-6. The big blow, though, came on the next possession following a Storm three-and-out when Campbell stripped Ben Broselle on the Golden Eagles' first play.
Jorgensen found Mitchell the next play for a 46-yard touchdown in which Mitchell did most of the work, weaving right-to-left through Ferndale's secondary to give Squalicum a 17-10 lead with 3:28 left in the third.
"It's just being opportunistic," Lucey said. "We knew coming in here we'd have to take advantage of our opportunities. It was huge."
Ferndale's Daniel Jones, who ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, missed a huge chance on the Golden Eagles' next drive, dropping a potential pass on another fourth-and-6 deep in Storm territory.
Jones made up for it later, though, taking a double handoff 43 yards up the middle for a TD that tied the game at 17 with 6:58 left in the game.
And just when Ferndale had captured some momentum, Jorgensen and Peterson stole it right back. It two plays, which took 16 seconds, Jorgensen connected with Peterson for 18 yards before finding him down the sideline for the eventual 40-yard, game-winning score.
"Man, on that drive. That's the adversity I'm talking about," Lucey said. "They responded. They are resilient, and it was a hell of a throw."
Ferndale had a chance to tie the game after Carpenter missed a short field goal late that would have put the Storm up two possessions, but the Golden Eagles' pass game couldn't move the ball.
Both Squalicum and Ferndale next face rivals. The Storm host Sehome at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, while Ferndale travels to play Lynden at the same time and date.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
Fern — Marcus Nightingale 3 run (Andrew Higginson-Fernandez kick)
Sq — Nick Manchester 3 run (Quinn Carpenter kick)
Sq — Carpenter 18 field goal
Fern — Higginson-Fernandez 34 field goal
Sq — Damek Mitchell 46 pass from Christian Jorgensen (Carpenter kick)
Fern — Daniel Jones 43 run (Higginson-Fernandez kick)
Sq — Ben Peterson 40 pass from Jorgensen (Carpenter kick)
RUSHING — Squalicum: Nick Manchester 14-59, Jordan Campbell 7-43, Damek Mitchell 5-16, Ben Peterson 2-38, Christian Jorgensen 4-5. Ferndale: Marcus Nightingale 30-196, Daniel Jones 9-86, Ben Broselle 5-38, Justice Powell 4-9, Kyler Schemstad 4-(-10).
PASSING — Squalicum: Christian Jorgensen 7-13-0-157. Ferndale: Kyler Schemstad 2-10-0-26.
RECEIVING — Squalicum: Ben Peterson 3-66, Damek Mitchell 2-48, Quinn Carpenter 2-43. Ferndale: John Weg 1-6, Marcus Nightingale 1-20.