OAK HARBOR — The Oak Harbor football team was successful on a pair of two-point conversions in regulation.
Trailing by a point in overtime, the Wildcats chose to roll the dice and go for the win with another two-point attempt.
But senior quarterback Jordan Bell’s fade pass to the corner of the left end zone fell incomplete, and second-ranked Ferndale prevailed for a 29-28 overtime victory over eighth-ranked Oak Harbor in a thrilling Wesco 3A North showdown of unbeatens Friday night at Oak Harbor High School.
“We (had) the number-two team in the state and the chance to win the game on one play,” Wildcats coach Jay Turner said. “We’re going to roll the dice there. We’re going to try for the win. There was not even a consideration of kicking it there.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how our team competed,” he added. “Those kids just hung it out there.”
Trailing 22-14 late in the fourth quarter, Oak Harbor drove 67 yards for a touchdown with 34 seconds to play and added a game-tying two-point conversion that ultimately forced overtime.
Ferndale senior running back Cole Semu ran for a 4-yard score on the first possession of overtime, giving the Golden Eagles a 29-22 lead.
Oak Harbor senior running back Mackenzie Nuanez answered with a tackle-breaking 5-yard touchdown run that cut the margin to 29-28.
But the ensuing two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, and Ferndale’s players stormed onto the field to celebrate the dramatic win.
The victory gave Ferndale (7-0 overall, 4-0 league) sole possession of first place atop the Wesco 3A North, while Oak Harbor dropped into a second-place tie with Arlington. The Wildcats (6-1, 3-1) travel to face Arlington next Friday.
“The toughest thing now is coming back, because we have Arlington next week and Arlington’s really good,” Turner said. “So we’ve got to try to get back and get focused again.”
Semu led Ferndale’s Wing-T rushing attack with 130 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jacob Broselle added 103 yards on 12 carries.
Oak Harbor’s high-powered Wing-T ground attack struggled against the superior size of Ferndale’s defensive front, which limited the Wildcats to just 115 rushing at an average of 2.7 yards per carry.
But Oak Harbor found some success in the passing game with several big plays through the air.
Bell completed 11 of 22 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown to senior Tamarik Hollins-Passmore, who had three receptions for 146 yards. Senior receiver Kyle Nickols had a team-high six catches for 83 yards.
Ferndale overcame five first-half turnovers, including four on its first five possessions. Oak Harbor junior cornerback Dorian Hardin came up with two first-quarter interceptions and the Wildcats recovered three fumbles.
Oak Harbor turned the ball over on downs four times inside the Ferndale 35-yard line, including once inside the 10-yard line.
On the Wildcats’ first possession, Bell found Hollins-Passmore wide-open up the seam for a 71-yard catch-and-run. Two plays later, Nuanez scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge to give Oak Harbor an early 6-0 lead.
Midway through the opening quarter, Ferndale pinned a punt inside the Oak Harbor 1-yard line. That led to a Ferndale safety, as three plays later the Golden Eagles sacked Bell in the end zone to make it 6-2.
Ferndale had chances to score on its next two possessions, but the Wildcats stymied those threats by forcing a pair of turnovers.
Ferndale drove inside the Oak Harbor 20-yard line following the safety, but the Wildcats forced and recovered a fumble to end the drive.
Disaster struck on Oak Harbor’s next possession, as the Wildcats couldn’t get off a punt after a low fourth-down snap.
Ferndale took over on the Oak Harbor 25-yard line, but once again the Golden Eagles were undone by a red-zone turnover. Hardin intercepted senior quarterback James Hinson for the second time in four drives, quelling the Ferndale threat.
Midway through the second quarter, Broselle broke free for a 46-yard run. Three plays later, Hinson rolled right and found senior Conner Obergottsberger for a 28-yard touchdown pass that gave the Golden Eagles a 9-6 lead.
Oak Harbor responded on the following drive, as Bell lofted a short pass over the Ferndale defense that Hollins-Passmore hauled in and took for a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown. The ensuing two-point conversion gave the Wildcats a 14-9 advantage.
Shortly before halftime, Oak Harbor recovered a strip-sack fumble and drove to the Ferndale 9-yard line. But the Wildcats weren’t able to extend their lead, as a fourth-down pass to the end zone fell incomplete.
The Golden Eagles retook the lead in the third quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Semu that gave Ferndale a 15-14 edge.
That remained the score until late in the fourth quarter, when Semu burst through a seam on the left side for a 32-yard touchdown run that gave the Golden Eagles a 22-14 advantage with 1:42 to play.
Oak Harbor answered with a six-play touchdown drive, keyed by a 43-yard completion from Bell to Nickols. Nuanez scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 34 seconds remaining to cut the margin to 22-20.
Bell was on the verge of getting sacked on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, but the senior was able to get off a hurried pass to Nickols, who caught it for the game-tying score.
Ferndale drove to the Oak Harbor 20-yard line in the closing seconds, but the Wildcats sacked Hinson on the final play of regulation to force overtime.