High School Football

After following a talented older brother, Ferndale standout ‘definitely his own guy’

Not far from Ferndale High School’s football field, a student parking stall labeled “Ben’s Bro” now deserves to be called “Jake’s Spot.”

Senior standout Jacob Broselle isn’t worried about that, though. After all, when he graduates, the label could be changed to “Tom’s Place.”

Jake, as Broselle is best known at school and in the community, figures he has the best of all football educational possibilities.

Having been a mentee, so to speak, he’s now a mentor.

When Jake was a freshman on the C team, he learned much and recalls being inspired when senior Ben Broselle won statewide honors not only in football, but two other sports at Ferndale plus rugby.

Now Jake, Ferndale’s leading ground-gainer at running back, is thrilled to be playing cornerback in the same defensive backfield as potential-packed sophomore brother Thomas Broselle.

Oh, and all three brothers are awfully proud of younger sister Christina, a freshman soccer player who has shown potential in girls’ varsity games.

“It’s a great family!” said Ferndale football coach Jamie Plenkovich.

“Jake is definitely his own guy,” the coach added.

Jake and 280-pound all-state senior lineman Geirean Hatchett — his best friend — will be leading the charge when the Golden Eagles (5-4) bid to upset top-ranked O’Dea (8-0) Friday at 5 p.m. at Seattle Memorial Stadium for the right to advance to the Class 3A state playoffs.

It’s a situation in which Plenkovich has often found his teams, what with the likes of O’Dea, Eastside Catholic and Bellevue in the same Week 10 district playoff structure.

Broselle and Hatchett, who are among only half a dozen senior starters on a young team, hope this won’t be their last football game for Ferndale. But if it is, they know where they are headed athletically.

Broselle, a member of the US National U18 7s rugby team, will play in New Zealand in a series of exhibitions in December and said he hopes to earn a college scholarship for rugby. Hatchett has signed to play football at the University of Washington.

“Ben has really inspired me,” Jake said of his older brother, who not only won two state 3A wrestling titles and a state javelin championship at Ferndale, but also is a member of the U.S. National Rugby 7’s team, hopeful of playing in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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Ferndale running back Jacob Broselle (20) breaks through the line of scrimmage and dashes for a 78-yard touchdown during the first quarter against Shorecrest against Friday evening Nov. 1, 2019, at Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Wash. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

“In some ways, it made me work harder, to not be in that shadow. I wanted to make my own name,” said Jake, who has made use of his work ethic to recover from clavicle and collarbone breaks sustained as a junior playing rugby.

“Ben taught me to always go as hard as I can,” Jake said. “He led by example. Now I’m trying to help Tom. It’s great to be playing together for one year.”

The 6-foot, 180-pound Jake displays an obviously fearless approach to football, with an elusive and quick, yet exceptionally hard-hitting style. It isn’t often one man can bring him down.

“For two years, Jake has been the guy we put on the other team’s best receiver,” Plenkovich said. “He’s often on an ‘island’ at corner, but he’s our lockdown guy.”

In an elimination crossover game last week matching Wesco 3A North and South teams, Broselle scored three touchdowns — the first on a tackle-busting 78-yard run — and gained 194 yards on 14 carries. Ferndale’s statistics show he improved his totals to 15 touchdowns and nearly 900 yards rushing.

Broselle, a third-year varsity starter, is gratified to be needed for an average of only about a dozen carries per game with the rapid development of sophomore Ryan Pelton and freshman Isaiah Carlson in the backfield.

“Those guys are really fast,” Broselle said.

Week 10 schedule

Friday, Nov 4

Lynden vs. Sehome at Civic Stadium, 4:30 p.m. (2A elimination game)

Ferndale vs. O’Dea at Seattle Memorial Stadium, 5 p.m. (3A elimination game)

Rainier Christian at Lummi, 6 p.m. (1B elimination game)

Cedar Park Christian at Lynden Christian, 7 p.m. (1A elimination game)

Mount Baker vs. South Whidbey at Sedro-Woolley High School, 7 p.m. (1A elimination game)

Squalicum vs. Juanita at Civic Stadium, 7 p.m. (3A elimination game)

Nooksack Valley at Oak Harbor, 7 p.m. (non-playoff game)

Saturday, Nov. 5

Meridian at Kings, 7 p.m. (1A elimination game)

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.