Ferndale’s football team scored its first three touchdowns on plays of 78, 54 and 50 yards by different standouts in a span of five plays, but coach Jamie Plenkovich wouldn’t argue that the big difference-maker was the defense.
“I’m really proud of our defense,” Plenkovich said in the wake of Ferndale’s 38-13 win over Shorecrest in a Class 3A Wesco crossover elimination game to begin the postseason.
Not that the longtime coach wasn’t equally proud of his offense, which led 21-0 one minute into the second half, thanks to a sensational 78-yard cut-and-run by Jacob Broselle, a perfectly executed 54-yard pass from junior quarterback Haiden Rasmussen to freshman Isaiah Carlson, and a 50-yard run by sophomore Ryan Pelton.
The reward for seventh-seeded Ferndale (5-4) in Week 10 will be a district elimination game against top-ranked O’Dea (8-0), the Metro Conference’s first seed. Plenkovich said the game may be Friday at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium. The Golden Eagles are among eight Whatcom County teams still alive in four divisions.
“We felt we would have some big plays because they were playing very aggressively (up front),” said Plenkovich, whose explosive young team wound up with 488 yards to surpass 1,000 in consecutive wins.
Broselle added touchdown runs of 2 and 29 yards to make it 35-7 at the half. The senior — who combines a hard-hitting style with speed and elusiveness — wound up with 194 yards on 14 carries and now has 15 touchdowns.
“I love blocking for our guys,” said all-state lineman Geirean Hatchett, a four-year starter who has signed with the University of Washington. “That’s why it’s really fun. They give me a chance to get on my high horse.”
When asked if he saw any special blocks on his long scoring run — on which he avoided at least four defenders until breaking into the open — Broselle had a fitting response.
“Everyone had a good block,” he said with a huge grin. “I couldn’t ask for more.”
Hatchett, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder with quickness, was among several players on defense who simply throttled Shorecrest (6-3), which has talented skill-position players.
Scots quarterback Eladio Fountain used a short-passing tactic to complete 37 of 59 passes for 353 yards. But the Golden Eagles’ defensive starters — who allowed only 16 net yards rushing and sacked Fountain seven times — limited the 6-5, 255-pound athlete to 246 yards on his first 33 completions — an average gain of 7.5 yards.
That’s why Plenkovich used the adage “We bent but didn’t break” to describe perfectly how the likes of Jazen Guillory, Malachi Ledbetter, Kobe Sandstrom, sophomore Thomas Broselle, Jacob Broselle, Andrew Monks and the entire defense surrendered only one touchdown and limited the Scots to 267 yards on 68 plays until reserves took over for the final nine minutes.
Thomas Broselle provided a play that typified the defense’s never-quit style. Shorecrest would have had a touchdown on a 35-yard pass from Fountain to Dow Gannon had the younger Broselle not run down the receiver at the 1-yard line.
That crowd-pleasing play, with the Golden Eagles up 35-7, ultimately resulted in a classic goal-line stand. Guillory stopped a fourth-down run to deny the Scots a 90-yard scoring drive.
Instead, the Golden Eagles immediately responded with a 13-play, 93-yard push, capped by a 29-yard field goal by junior James Werth, who also made all five conversions. Werth’s boot with 9:11 to go sealed the win at 38-7.
Pelton’s 50-yard run was his 10th touchdown, and his 104 yards on eight carries put him over 800 yards for the season.
Ferndale’s offensive line starters — Hatchett, Sandstrom, Edmond Slimane, Tyler Demorest and freshman Landen Hatchett — enabled their fast backfield trio to combine for 357 yards. Meanwhile, the fast-improving Rasmussen completed 4 of 9 passes for 108 yards, including a 37-yarder on which Cooper Taxdahl leaped to outfight the defensive back, ultimately making possible Werth’s field goal chance.
Ferndale’s young backfield has produced 229 points in their five victories and has lost only to outstanding teams.
Other Friday high school football games in the Bellingham area
Squalicum 28, Edmonds-Woodway 7: In a seeding crossover game matching second-place teams, the Storm (7-2) turned in one of its most dominating defensive efforts against 3A South Division power Edmonds-Woodway (5-4) at Civic Stadium.
Whatcom County rushing leader Ben Schlenbaker scored on runs of 15 and 51 yards in the first half, giving him 22 touchdowns, and quarterback Mason Binning threw two scoring passes to Dedrick Mitchell in the second half. Addison Shrock, one of the county’s top kickers, made all four conversions in the wake of an 8-for-8 showing in his previous game.
Reed Richardson had an interception for the Storm, which held Edmonds-Woodway without an offensive touchdown. Ryan Fahey scored on a 60-yard fumble return.
The Storm will host Kirkland’s Juanita at 7 p.m. Friday at Civic Stadium in a Week 10 game for the right to play in the 3A state Round of 16.
The Storm was coming off a 56-21 win over Oak Harbor on Oct. 26. Schlenbaker had three touchdowns and 226 yards on 22 carries, while Binning threw scoring passes to Bryce Pennock and Kai Posey and completed 15 of 20 for 180 yards. Mitchell scored on a 63-yard interception return and Steven Owens and Elliott Aslan scored on runs of 2 and 16 yards, respectively. Aslan’s score gave the Storm a 35-7 halftime lead.
Sehome 20, Burlington-Edison 14: Tim Malo caught two touchdown passes from Jacob Kaepernick and finished with 93 yards on four catches in an elimination game for the Lake Division champion, including a 39-yarder on his first score at Sky Division fifth-placer Burlington.
Colin Dorsch scored on a 1-yard run for the sixth-seeded Mariners (7-2), who will face first-seeded Lynden (6-2) in Week 10, with site and time to be determined.
Kaepernick now has 17 touchdown passes and more than 1,500 yards for the season.
Burlington scored the game’s final touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 42-yard run by Zach Watson, who also threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Bode Brewer.
Liberty 57, Blaine 6: In the other District 1 2A Week 10 elimination games, Sedro-Woolley will face Archbishop Murphy and Liberty will meet Lakewood. Liberty beat host Blaine (1-8) in an elimination game and Sedro-Woolley survived with a 24-7 win over Cedarcrest.
Mount Baker 27, Nooksack 0: The Mountaineers (8-1 overall, 5-1 NWC 1A) tied Lynden Christian (7-1, 5-1) for the title and are in the postseason for the eighth consecutive year under coach Ron Lepper.
The Mounties will play a Week 10 elimination game against South Whidbey, with site and time to be decided, Lepper said.
Jason Lee scored on short runs for the first and third touchdowns and Mark Tikhonov scored on an interception from about midfield to help produce a 21-0 halftime lead. (Full statistics were not available.)
Toby Jefferson capped the effort with a touchdown reception from beyond midfield from junior Mason Jacoby, who surpassed 1,000 yards passing and has 11 scoring passes in his first season as a starter.
Other interceptions by Waylon Kentner, Davin Beason and Lee helped the Mounties earn their first shutout of the season.
“Nooksack (2-7, 0-6) played hard,” Lepper said, praising the Pioneers’ willingness to work even though they had been eliminated from the postseason. “We played really good team defense and kept Nooksack from scoring twice in the red zone.”
Neah Bay 54, Lummi 42: The Blackhawks (6-3) will host a B1 elimination game against Rainier Christian, with time and day to be decided in Week 10 after the home loss to the Red Devils (8-1), who will have a bye along with Northwest League champion Naselle.
Caleb Revey scored four ways for the Blackhawks. He returned a punt 67 yards to the end zone, caught a touchdown pass from Isaiah Jefferson, ran for a 54-yard score and threw a 38-yard scoring pass to Duncan Toby.
Toby also caught a 42-yard scoring pass from Jefferson, who gained 175 yards passing. Miguel Ortiz scored on a 4-yard run. Lummi had a pair of 2-point conversions and Jaie Leighton had one. Toby was credited with seven catches for 293 yards and two touchdowns.
Lynden Christian 42, Meridian 0: The Lyncs earned a share of their second consecutive NWC 1A title and will host Cedar Park Christian on Friday night in an elimination game.
Trajan Schouten threw two well-executed touchdown passes of 48 and 38 yards to Bryce Bouwman in full stride. Schouten also tossed passes to Jackson Corkill for 60 yards for the first touchdown and Zach Sipma for 38 yards for the third touchdown, while junior Logan Dykstra produced the Lyncs’ final score with a 10-yard pass to Tanner Feenstra in the third quarter.
Corkill also scored on a 6-yard run after a week earlier celebrating his 79th reception, setting a career record.
Schouten finished 8 for 12 for 230 yards and one interception, moving him past 1,300 yards with 14 touchdowns. Dykstra led the Lyncs with eight rushes for 55 yards.
Meridian (2-7, 2-4) will travel to Granite Falls for a play-in game Tuesday, with the survivor facing King’s on Saturday for a berth in the state Round of 16.
WEEK 10 GAMES
All are district elimination games, with sites, days and time to be determined Monday unless otherwise specified:
Cedar Park at Lynden Christian (1A), Friday, 7 p.m.
South Whidbey vs. Mount Baker (1A)
Meridian at Granite Falls (1A), Tuesday, 7 p.m. winner will play Saturday at King’s, 7 p.m.
Sehome vs. Lynden (2A)
Juanita vs. Squalicum (3A), Friday, 7 p.m.
Ferndale vs. O’Dea (3A)
Rainier Christian at Lummi, (1B eight-man)