High School Football

Storm’s defense holds strong in win against Ferndale

Squalicum defensive back LeAndrew Alarcon (4), right, takes down Ferndale’s Jacob Kildall (6) for no gain during the first quarter on Saturday evening, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash.
Squalicum defensive back LeAndrew Alarcon (4), right, takes down Ferndale’s Jacob Kildall (6) for no gain during the first quarter on Saturday evening, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham, Wash. For The Bellingham Herald

Squalicum coach Nick Lucey likened Ferndale’s defensive front to the New York Giants football team after the game. Fortunately, he’s got a pretty good group of defensive lineman, too.

For two teams who are used to racking up yardage and posting large numbers on scoreboards, Squalicum’s and Ferndale’s defenses shined in a matchup of the only unbeatens left in the Class 3A/2A Northwest Conference.

Every play was a battle, big kids, really big kids.

Squalicum defensive lineman Caleb Starkovich

Storm receiver Ben Peterson took a carry 9 yards around the right side into the end zone on a Statue of Liberty play to put Squalicum in front midway through the fourth quarter, and the Storm’s defense did the rest to earn a hard-fought 12-7 NWC win over the Golden Eagles on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium.

“This was the first game our offense hasn’t been able to do what we wanted to do for the most part,” Lucey said. “We had to find a different way to win, and our defense just played down-in, down-out, great football against a good physical team.”

1011-FOOT-FernSqual-PEC-3 (2)
Squalicum linebacker Will Nickelson (32) tackles Ferndale quarterback James Hinson (13) for a loss of yardage early in the first quarter on Saturday evening, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Storm senior defensive lineman Caleb Starkovich described the game’s physical nature a different way.

“Every play was a battle, big kids, really big kids,” Starkovich said.

Triston Smith led the Storm’s run game with 41 yards on five carries, but his 36-yard, first-quarter touchdown run down the left sideline gave Squalicum a 6-0 lead. Ferndale’s defense limited Squalicum to 67 total rush yards.

1011-FOOT-FernSqual-PEC-2 (2)
Squalicum wide receiver Noah Westerhoff (7) dives for the goal over Ferndale defensive back Sky Freeman late in the first quarter on Saturday evening, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham. Westerhoff failed to make the touchdown as time in the first quarter ran out. Squalicum failed to capitalize on their position losing the ball on downs during the first minute of the second quarter. Paul Conrad for The Bellingham Herald

Squalicum’s defense came up with crucial stops in pivotal moments. Starkovich and Jake Burns made several big plays, but none of the Storm defenders had an answer for Austin Honeycutt’s power running.

The bruising senior back piled up a game-high 140 yards on 20 carries and came out of the backfield to catch a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback James Hinson to give Ferndale a 7-6 lead with 7:23 left in the third quarter.

Squalicum (6-0, 4-0 NWC) was able to take advantage of some key Ferndale penalties and turned a Justice Powell fumble into the deciding touchdown. Peterson’s score with 6:33 left in the fourth gave the No. 4-ranked Storm a 12-7 advantage.

1011-FOOT-FernSqual-PEC-1 (2)
Squalicum wide receiver Ben Peterson (5) stretches to catch a 20-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Sorenson for a first down late in the second quarter on Saturday evening, Oct. 10, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Ferndale (4-2, 3-1 NWC) had a great chance late to win the game, but a holding penalty put them behind the chains. Brian Pullman sacked Hinson to give Ferndale a fourth-and-goal on the 28. After a defensive penalty, the Golden Eagles had one more shot, but Jackson King couldn’t haul in Hinson’s pass.

“Jake and Caleb, we kind of designed what we wanted to do around those two guys,” Lucey said. “Just the motor they play with, we thought they’d give them fits."

Ferndale

0

0

7

0

7

Squalicum

6

0

0

6

12

First quarter

Sq — Triston Smith 36 run (kick fail)

Third quarter

Fern — Austin Honeycutt 4 pass from James Hinson (Sam Boulos kick)

Fourth quarter

Sq — Ben Peterson 9 run (pass fail)

Fern

Sq

First downs

15

13

Rushing Att-yards

43-258

23-67

Comp-Att-Int

7-17-1

14-30-1

Passing yards

85

155

Penalties-yards

7-71

7-67

Fumbles-lost

2-2

0-0

Individual leaders

RUSHING — Ferndale: Austin Honeycutt 20-140, Justice Powell 12-60, James Hinson 8-46, Taylor Bellefeuille 2-12, Sky Freeman 1-0. Squalicum: Triston Smith 5-41, Damek Mitchell 5-14, Ben Peterson 4-7, Garrett Sorenson 9-5.

PASSING — Ferndale: James Hinson 7-17-1-85. Squalicum: Garrett Sorenson 14-30-1-155.

RECEIVING — Ferndale: Sky Freeman 3-31, Jacob Kildall 2-17, Justice Powell 1-33, Austin Honeycutt 1-4. Squalicum: Noah Westerhoff 6-57, Damek Mitchell 4-30, Ben Peterson 2-32, Darious Powell 1-14, Jake Burns 1-12.

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