High School Football

After a down year, Ferndale football should be much-improved this fall

Taylor Bellefeuille is a tremendous leader and arguably the best linebacker in the Northwest Conference.
Taylor Bellefeuille is a tremendous leader and arguably the best linebacker in the Northwest Conference. The Bellingham Herald

After one of the more disappointing years in recent Ferndale football program history, the Golden Eagles have taken measures to ensure 2015 follows a different narrative.

“We let things, not even within the framework of games and practices, get in our way of being as good as we could be,” coach Jamie Plenkovich said.

With an impressive group dedicated to offseason training, emerging leaders and key returners peppered throughout Ferndale’s roster, the Golden Eagles seemed poised for a return to league prominence.

It seems Ferndale has a strong player or two at every position grouping, but the Golden Eagles’ physicality up front could end up being the team’s hallmark.

Ferndale returns eight starters on offense, and four of those starters reside along the offensive line with Nick Bartel, Christian Rodriguez, Chris Hernandez and Zach Eriksen. And Winterhawk Leighton returns after spending time at tight end.

“We do have some good size,” Plenkovich said. “Those guys up front have a lot of experience coming back, and the guys behind them have done a good job.”

They’ll be charged with opening up rushing lanes for what will be a reworked backfield with the graduation of Marcus Nightingale and Daniel Jones.

Even with the duo’s departure, Plenkovich feels good about his running game, and for good reason. Taylor Bellefeuille should get some looks with Austin Honeycutt at fullback, and Sky Freeman, Ben Broselle and Justice Powell will solidify the running back spot.

“We want to be able to (distribute) our carries and attack the defense in a bunch of different ways,” Plenkovich said. “I think we have several guys who can make big plays that will be carrying the football.”

Attack in multiple facets means throwing the ball, too — something the Golden Eagles weren’t particularly strong at a year ago. But Ferndale has a close quarterback battle between returner Kyler Schemstad and sophomore James Hinson. Plenkovich likes both, and whoever wins will have good options outside with Jackson King and Jacob Killdall.

Ferndale’s defense seems to have the making of a dominant unit.

Hernandez, an all-state talent, will join returners Leighton, Honeycutt and Rodriguez along the defensive front, and Bartel adds more depth.

Bellefeuille may be the best linebacker in the NWC, and he’ll be joined by Sam Cleary and Jake Leavitt.

As good as the line and linebackers could be, it’s the secondary, made up of Powell, Kildall and Freeman that has been most impressive during the preseason.

Key numbers

8

Offensive starters from 2014 returning

for Ferndale in 2015.

8

Defensive starters from 2014 returning

for Ferndale in 2015.

2

Number of passing

touchdowns recorded

last season.

20

Number of seniors

on Ferndale’s varsity roster in 2015.

Players to watch

TAYLOR BELLEFEUILLE

Sr., RB/LB

Bellefeuille is a tremendous leader and arguably the best linebacker in the Northwest Conference.

AUSTIN HONEYCUTT

Sr., RB/DL

Honeycutt is one piece of what should be a dominant defensive line, and he brings a physical quality to the running back spot.

JUSTICE POWELL

Sr., RB/DB

Powell is a key piece to what should be a strong secondary, and he’s also expected to make a big impact in the run game.

CHRIS HERNANDEZ

Sr., OL/DL

Hernandez is an all-state talent and a major force on both sides of the ball. He should be a huge factor for the Golden Eagles.

Three keys to 2015

1. ALL IN

Coach Plenkovich felt like his team last year wasn’t always committed to improving every day. The Golden Eagles seem to have the talent in place this season, and they could be in for a great season if their potential is maximized.

2. PHYSICALLY DOMINATE

Ferndale’s offensive and defensive front has the chance to be the best in the league. They return four of five starters on the O-line and all four starters on the D-line. The Golden Eagles should be able to set the tone in the trenches.

3. KEEP ’EM GUESSING

Ferndale’s offense is predicated on keeping the defense off-balance by getting the ball in the hands of several backs. Last year, Marcus Nightingale was the go-to. It would benefit the Golden Eagles to share the rock and develop some type of passing game.

Projection

There’s a lot to like about the Golden Eagles. They’re experienced and have a lot of size. Ferndale should be much improved over last season and should contend for a NWC title.

2015 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 4

Kamiakin

5 p.m.

Sept. 11

at Oak Harbor

7 p.m.

Sept. 18

Blaine*

7 p.m.

Sept. 25

at Burlington-Edison*

7 p.m.

Oct. 2

Anacortes*

7 p.m.

Oct. 9

at Squalicum*^

7 p.m.

Oct. 16

Lynden*

7 p.m.

Oct. 23

Sehome*

7 p.m.

Oct. 30

Sedro-Woolley*

7 p.m.

*NWC 2A/3A game; ^At Civic Stadium

2015 roster

No.

Player

Yr.

Ht.

Wt.

Pos.

2

Sky Freeman

Jr.

6-0

170

RB/DB

3

Nikita Leonovets

Sr.

6-0

165

WR/K

4

Patrick Hegarty

Jr.

6-3

170

WR/K

5

Sam Boulos

Jr.

6-0

165

K

6

Jacob Kildall

Jr.

6-1

180

WR/DB

7

Jake Leavitt

Sr.

5-8

180

RB/LB

8

Darius Walker-Perkins

So.

6-0

195

QB/DL

9

Justice Powell

Jr.

6-2

185

RB/DB

11

Jeremy Samuelson

So.

5-10

150

WR/DB

12

Jared Emmert

So.

6-1

160

WR/DB

13

James Hinson

So.

6-2

190

QB/DB

15

Joey Thompson

So.

5-8

130

QB/DB

17

Kyler Schemstad

Sr.

6-1

190

QB/LB

18

Jackson King

Sr.

6-4

180

WR/DB

20

Ben Broselle

Jr.

6-0

185

RB/DB

21

Cole Semu

So.

5-9

190

RB/DB

23

Gabe Zwade

So.

5-9

160

RB/LB

25

Andrew Ryan

So.

5-11

160

RB/LB

28

Joshua Williams

Sr.

5-9

170

RB/DB

29

Alex Cleary

So.

6-0

170

RB/LB

30

Eli Jolly

Sr.

6-0

170

RB/DL

31

Logan Otway

Jr.

5-5

120

RB/DB

32

Austin Honeycutt

Sr.

6-4

215

RB/DL

34

Carter Colon

So.

6-2

170

TE/LB

35

Alfonso Billy

So.

5-6

140

RB/DB

40

Jacob Yewbanks

So.

5-5

115

WR/DB

42

Taylor Bellefeuille

Sr.

5-7

175

RB/LB

47

Jordan Cristelli

Jr.

5-11

175

RB/LB

48

Kahlao Young

Jr.

5-6

190

RB/LB

50

Riley Engels

Jr.

6-2

220

OL/DL

53

Kaleb Owen

So.

5-11

200

OL/DL

54

Jack Bartram

Jr.

6-1

210

OL/DL

55

Riley Long

Sr.

6-0

215

OL/DL

56

Bogdan Trubnikov

Sr.

6-1

245

OL/DL

57

Nate Slaton

Jr.

5-11

220

OL/DL

58

Christian Rodriquez

Sr.

5-10

230

OL/DL

61

Spencer Crosswhite

So.

5-11

210

OL/DL

62

Sam Cleary

Sr.

6-0

200

OL/DL

63

Patrick Willett

So.

5-11

260

OL/DL

65

Sean Gomes

So.

5-6

175

OL/LB

66

Adam Bob

Sr.

5-10

210

OL/DL

67

Jacob Hindes

Sr.

6-3

240

OL/DL

68

Chris Hernandez

Sr.

6-5

305

OL/DL

73

Nick Bartel

Sr.

6-6

310

OL/DL

74

Todd Quackenbush

Sr.

6-0

220

OL/DL

75

Kody Gunderson

Jr.

6-0

225

OL/DL

76

Mikhail Varetskiy

So.

6-2

195

OL/DL

78

Zach Ericksen

Sr.

6-2

305

OL/DL

80

Austin Roughton

So.

5-8

140

WR/DB

81

Winterhawk Leighton

Jr.

6-4

240

TE/DL

82

Reid Benson

So.

6-0

205

TE/DE

83

Reggie Neff

Sr.

5-8

150

WR/DB

84

Mikel Montero

Jr.

5-9

150

WR/K

85

Kolby Williams

Sr.

5-6

145

WR/DB

87

Marcos Ortiz

So.

5-6

140

WR/DB

88

Micah Oostra

So.

5-10

130

WR/DB

89

Elijah Jeffrey

So.

5-8

140

WR/DB

2014 Season recap

RESULTS

(3-6, 3-4 NWC 2A/3A)

Date

Opponent

Result

Sept. 6

at Kamiakin

L 34-14

Sept. 12

Oak Harbor

L 42-23

Sept. 19

at Blaine*

W 33-14

Sept. 26

Burlington-Edison*

L 28-6

Oct. 3

at Anacortes*

W 49-14

Oct. 10

Squalicum*

L 24-17

Oct. 17

at Lynden*

W 37-35

Oct. 24

at Sehome*

L 42-21

Oct. 30

Sedro-Woolley*

L 35-28

*NWC 2A/3A game

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Marcus Nightingale

179

1,010

5.6

10

Daniel Jones

88

685

7.8

6

Ben Broselle*

40

374

9.4

4

Justice Powell*

32

230

7.2

2

Kyler Schemstad*

35

103

2.9

3

Austin Honeycutt*

22

91

4.1

1

Passing

Cmp.

Att.

Yds.

TD

Int.

Kyler Schemstad*

37

92

468

2

3

Receiving

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Marcus Nightingale

4

121

30.3

1

Christian Cameron

10

105

10.5

0

Daniel Jones

3

78

26.0

0

Jackson King*

4

40

10.0

0

Dante Kelly

5

40

8.0

0

*returning player

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