The Ferndale football coaches had a simple message for the Golden Eagles at halftime.
“We played a poor half of football really on both sides of the ball,” Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said after the game.
The Golden Eagles didn’t allow a score in the final 24 minutes and rolled to a 34-20 win over Blaine on Friday, Sept. 18.
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“Kudos to our kids for coming back, putting our hats on in the second half and getting to work.”
Ferndale evened the score in the third quarter, when Justice Powell – the Golden Eagles primary back for the second straight week as Ben Broselle continues to sit out with injury – rumbled 35 yards for a score.
The Golden Eagles defense held firm in the second half, playing more nickel coverage because the front four, including a healthy Chris Hernandez and an impressive Taylor Bellefeuille, continued to pressure Blaine quarterback Jalen Kortlever.
Ferndale had seven sacks on the evening.
“Our front four played really well,” Plenkovich said. “Taylor Bellefeuille did a great job on some of our blitz stuff we had in. He had a few sacks and with the pressure those guys gave up front it allowed us to have another guy in the secondary to take away some of the big plays they had in the first half.”
Ferndale was eventually able to capitalize on the defense’s performance with a big play of its own – a 59-yard TD pass from James Hinson to a wide-open Sky Freeman to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
“The coaches were calling the right plays at the right time and the guys up front were holding the d-line long enough for me to make a play,” Freeman said. “That’s all it was.”
Austin Honeycutt sealed the game with 4:27 left in the game with a six-yard touchdown run to make it 34-20.
While the Golden Eagles offense finally started clicking late, it was a rough start for the Golden Eagles, whose only offensive touchdown in the first half was Powell’s 15-yarder late in the second quarter.
The Ferndale defense was the playmaker early in place of the offense, as Freeman picked off Kortlever on his first pass of the night and took it to the house in the first quarter.
“I know Jalen from eighth grade, playing AAU against him,” Freeman said. “He’s going to have a great year. He’s a great quarterback. I was able to make a play because the guys up front were playing good.”
After the pick-six, though, Blaine was the dominant team.
Fritsch countered the defensive touchdown, taking the first play on Blaine’s next possession 76 yards for a touchdown.
Kortlever then continued the success he had the first two weeks with a 28-yard touchdown to Anthony Ball and 25-yard touchdown to Layton Hagee with no time on the clock in the second quarter.
The junior gunslinger finished 9 for 24 for 165 yards and two TDs.
Blaine takes on Sehome next week and Ferndale faces Burlington-Edison.
Ferndale – Sky Freeman 28 interception (Sam Boulos kick)
Blaine – Riley Fritsch 76 run (run fail)
Blaine – Anthony Ball 28 pass from Jalen Kortlever (run fail)
Ferndale – Justice Powell 15 run (Boulos kick)
Blaine – Layton Hagee 25 pass from Kortlever (Kortlever to Fakkema pass)
Ferndale – Powell 35 run (kick miss)
Ferndale – Freeman 59 pass from James Hinson (Boulos kick)
Ferndale – Austin Honeycutt 6 run (Boulos kick)
RUSHING — Blaine: Jalen Kortlever 7-(-58), Riley Fritsch 19-104 . Ferndale: Sky Freeman 3-12, Justice Powell 12-90, James Hinson 7-14, Cole Semu 5-17, Austin Honecutt 11-37, Taylor Bellefeuille 6-15.
PASSING — Blaine: Jalen Krotlever 9-24-1-165. Ferndale: James Hinson 8-13-0-174.
RECEIVING — Blaine: Jonathan Stacer 2-41, Layton Hagee 3-50, Anthony Ball 4-74. Ferndale: Sky Freeman 4-109, Jackson King 2-30, Austin Honeycutt 1-24, Winterhawk Leighton 1-11.