For the second straight week, Ferndale’s football team had its back against the wall.
Down 10-6 after a Burlington-Edison touchdown run to open the fourth quarter, the Golden Eagles had to respond.
And respond they did.
An eight-play, 71-yard drive ended with Austin Honeycutt’s second touchdown of the night – this one from two yards out to make it 13-10 after the extra point – and Ferndale went on to win 20-10 over the Tigers on Friday, Sept. 25, at Kirkby Field.
“That was the huge drive of the game. They come down and score and kind of have momentum,” Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said. “Our kids were resilient, came right back and marched down the field on them. … That’s fun to watch when your kids don’t let adversity get them down and respond.”
On the second play of Burlington-Edison’s next drive, Sky Freeman intercepted Hunter Anderson, who had the Tigers’ only touchdown – a four-yard dash to the pylon to start the fourth quarter.
Honeycutt made the Tigers pay for the turnover and ran the first play in for 25 yards.
In what Plenkovich called a “gritty performance,” the bruising back finished with 196 yards and three touchdowns – including a second-quarter two-yard score – after missing most of practices this week with illness.
“My line was blocking really well, creating open holes for me to run and I was able to make plays off it,” Honeycutt said.
The Ferndale running game, which entered the game with a league-high 825 yards on the ground, pounded the ball all night long, tallying 274 yards on 46 carries, despite two-way lineman Chris Hernandez going down early with injury.
“It was set up by our guys up front. Really good job by them tonight,” Plenkovich said. “Having somebody step in when Chris goes down and our guys didn’t miss a beat. We were still able to run the football and do the things we wanted to do.”
While the rushing attack was having their way with the Tigers, it was Ferndale’s defense that was truly impressive.
After relying on the ground game the first three weeks, Burlington-Edison came out throwing the ball, attempting 31 passes, and the Ferndale defensive backs rose to the occasion.
Justice Powell played well on the Northwest Conference’s leading receiver, Derek Cherryholmes, knocking down several passes and holding Cherryholmes to just four catches and 39 yards.
On the other side, James Hinson was also instrumental in breaking up passes, including a third-down throw in the end zone that held the Tigers to just a field goal. Ferndale got a hand on separate field-goal attempt by Burlington-Edison that fell short.
“We knew they have really good skill guys. We expected they would throw quite a bit tonight,” Plenkovich said. “We didn’t bite on anything. We were assignment-sound in the secondary tonight. We didn’t have any guys running free.”
Ferndale (3-1, 2-0 NWC 2A/3A) faces Anacortes next Friday.
Fern — Austin Honeycutt 2 run (kick fail)
B-E – Jake Field 34 FG
B-E — Hunter Anderson 4 run (Field kick)
Fern – Honeycutt 2 run (Boulos kick)
Fern – Honeycutt 25 run (Boulos kick)
RUSHING — Ferndale: Sky Freeman 1-7, Justice Powell 12-70, James Hinson 3 (-4), Austin Honeycutt 28-196, Taylor Bellefeuille 2-5. Burlington-Edison: Hunter Anderson 5-11, Conner Moore 1-3, Tavian Swanson 4-2, Taran Lambert 8-29, Payton Henderson 9-42.
PASSING — Ferndale: James Hinson 2-3-1-16. Burlington-Edison: Hunter Anderson 12-31-1-142.
RECEIVING — Ferndale: Sky Freeman 1-4, Winterhawk Leighton 1-12. Burlington-Edison: Derek Cherryholmes 4-39, Joe Daniels 1-16, Jacob Zamora 2-23, Tavian Swanson 3-30, Taran Lambert 2-34.