High School Football

Before Monday, he’d never carried the ball; but he capped off this blowout victory in style

Ferndale running back Cole Semu slips the tackle of Ballard defender Owen Albert at the goal line to score a touchdown during the first quarter of the 3A district playoffs Friday at Civic Stadium.
Ferndale running back Cole Semu slips the tackle of Ballard defender Owen Albert at the goal line to score a touchdown during the first quarter of the 3A district playoffs Friday at Civic Stadium. For The Bellingham Herald

In a game in which the No. 3 Ferndale football team scored 10 touchdowns to beat Ballard 70-7 in the Class 3A district playoffs, it was the final one that got the biggest reaction Friday at snow-covered Civic Stadium.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Golden Eagles reserves had the ball first-and-goal at the Beavers’ 2. Four straight plays they fed it to 6-foot, 300-pound lineman Patrick Willett, who reported as elligible. The man his teammates call “Patty” got a yard on first down, fumbled and lost a yard on second and got it back on third down. Fourth down he lived out every lineman’s dream in William “Refrigerator” Perry fashion, barreling into the end zone.

But scoring was only part of the fun. The enthusiastic response of his teammates when he got back to the sideline was something to behold.

“It was just a rush – everyone cheering you,” Willett said.

And carrying if four straight times, especially for a guy who said he had never carried the ball before Monday?

“That was fun for sure,” he said. “Got to give those running guys a lot of credit – it’s not as easy as it looks.”

What it means

With the win, Ferndale (10-0) heads back to the Class 3A state playoffs as the No. 1 seed out of District 1.

They’ll get to host District 3 No. 3 seed Bethell, which beat Yelm 32-22 Friday, in the first round either Friday or Saturday.

Perfect game

Ferndale didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard, as it took it only six plays to take the opening possession 65 yards for a touchdown. Jacob Broselle capped the drive with a 24-yard sprint around left end.

But that was just the start, as the Golden Eagles found end zone on all seven first-half possessions. Cole Semu scored on runs of 83 and 21 yards, and James Hinson found Reid Benson from 20 yards out to make it 28-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Beavers just couldn’t find a way to stop Ferndale, as Hinson found Watiko Leighton from 16 yards out, Semu ran it in from 5 yards out and Broselle added a 9-yard scamper.

“Our whole offensive line put in a whole lot of work in this week, and our running backs too, finding good holes,” said lineman Spencer Crosswhite, who helped Ferndale pile up 407 yards on the ground. “Good team effort all the way around.”

And it didn’t stop in the second half, as Ferndale scored on both its second-half possessions, as well, making them a perfect nine for nine.

Defense hits pay dirt

Even the Ferndale defense got in on the act, as Gabe Zwade fell on a fumble in the east end zone in the closing seconds of the half to make the halftime score 56-0.

It was the third turnover forced by the Golden Eagles in the first half, as Jared Emmert and Sequoyah Julius added interceptions. The defensive front was a nemesis for the Beavers, as Mikhail Varetsky, Geirean Hatchett, Darius Washington and Crosswhite combined to sack Ballard quarterback Ryan Blokker five times.

“We put a lot of time and effort into studying what their offense was going to do,” Crosswhite said. “We did a great job communicating on what plays they had, and we did a great job holding that front line and really smacking them hard at the beginning of the game.”

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