Wildcats Pounce on Warriors

The first game of the Humboldt Del-Norte Little Four division pitted the Ferndale Wildcats against the Hoopa Valley Warriors in a game that started with much anticipation for Hoopa, but ended in disappointment with a near shut-out score of 41-7. / Photo by Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune.

Hoopa Loses 28th Game Against Ferndale, 41-7

By Manuel Sanchez, Two Rivers Tribune

The first game of the Humboldt Del-Norte Little Four division league pitted a team that has dominated the region for years—Ferndale—versus a team that wanted to show they were the new bully on the block—Hoopa. But, the game ended like the other 27 straight victories for Ferndale, with a convincing victory over an overwhelmed foe.

Hoopa came into the game with confidence. They felt they were the team to end Ferndale’s streak and put a temporary end to the Wildcat strangle hold on the Little Four division. After Hoopa’s 4-0 start to the season, and their championship banner from last season, Hoopa came into this game ready and willing.

The Wildcats marched down the field on a 10-play drive on the game’s opening possession that saw the Hoopa defense tighten up in the red zone, forcing a turnover on downs. But, the vaunted Hoopa running game (which came into the game averaging over 250 yards per game) was shut down early and often, as the Wildcats swarmed the Hoopa ball carriers the entire first half.

Hoopa was forced to punt, but the 12-yard punt set Ferndale up with great field position (this would be the story of the game; Hoopa with horrible field position and Ferndale starting in Warrior territory all night long).
This game turned quickly and Ferndale would score on their next four possessions for a commanding 28-0 halftime lead.

“They dominated us up front all night,” Hoopa Head Coach Marty Wilkes, said.

hile the Warriors couldn’t get their running going (negative five yards rushing in the first half; 13 total yards in the first half), they were able to gain yardage through the air. Hoopa quarterback Sonny Ryles was bottled up all night (it seemed the Wildcats were keying on the signal caller on every play) but he was able to hit his receivers for gains throughout the second half.

Hoopa broke open the blowout by striking through the air with a beautiful deep throw from Ryles to a streaking, Jeremy “Cougar” Applegate, for 55 yards along the sideline. The pass was laid up perfectly for Applegate who snagged the ball over the Wildcat defender and outran the rest of the defense for a gorgeous touchdown that ended the shutout. The final score was 41-7.

Hoopa came away from this game with a bruised ego, but that last touchdown showed the Warriors can score on the Wildcats. This team is still the favorite to win the NCS Division V championship, but they need to put this game behind them and take their frustration out on their next opponent, the St. Bernard Crusader’s at the homecoming game this coming Friday on Pritchard Field.
Nothing cures a loss, like pounding a St. Bernard’s team into submission.


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