EVERETT — The Everett Seagulls’ 4-1 start to the season had surprised some fans and prognosticators. So Friday’s Class 3A showdown with No. 2-ranked Ferndale was supposed to help both squads gauge their true abilities.
It did, though Ferndale was probably more pleased with the result, as the Golden Eagles of the Northwest Conference routed Everett 41-7 in the non-conference contest at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“We were excited to play this game because we knew this was a quality opponent and would be a good litmus test for us to see where we’re at,” Ferndale head coach Jamie Plenkovich said. “These are the type of games you have to win if you want to have a successful year.”
Ferndale did that emphatically, using momentum from a last-second touchdown to end the first half as a springboard to force three second-half turnovers and score 27 unanswered points.
Leading 14-7 with 10 seconds to play in the opening half, Ferndale quarterback Casey Locker dropped back deep and unleashed a heave that fell incomplete short of the goal line. But Everett was flagged for pass interference which gave Ferndale one more shot with one second remaining and the ball on the Seagulls’ 34-yard line.
Locker’s next throw found Jeff Frost, who outjumped two Everett defenders at the back of the end zone to make the catch and give Ferndale the 21-7 lead at halftime.
“They got that big play right at the end of the first half, which really gave them a lift going into halftime,” Everett head coach Will Soren said. “We had some mistakes, they took advantage of them and good teams are going to do that. I take my hat off to them, they’re the real deal. They’re a good football team.”
Those second-half mistakes included two interceptions and a fumble that turned what had been a close contest into a lopsided game.
Jordan Finkbonner capped a 15-play, 74-yard drive with 2:28 to play in the third quarter to make it 28-7 before things really came unglued for Everett.
An Everett fumble set up Locker’s second touchdown pass to Frost and a Jordan Crim interception of Everett’s Chase Herrick set up Locker’s third touchdown pass to Frost — this one for 37 yards — to give the game its final score.
“You hate for that to happen because I thought the kids played hard,” Soren said. “We just can’t make those types of mistakes when we’re playing a good football team.”
Ferndale’s defense constantly harassed Herrick, who was often throwing while on the run. The Golden Eagles held him to just 11-for-26 passing for 105 yards and recorded two interceptions.
On the other side of the ball, the dual-threat Locker completed nine of 14 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 43 yards, a total skewed by three first-half Everett sacks.
“He’s not a bad player, but what makes it tough is they have four or five players who can do that to you,” Soren said.
That was an apt assessment, as Finkbonner finished with 95 yards on 15 carries and scored three touchdowns. Frost caught four passes for 106 yards and three touchdowns.
Soren said he wasn’t surprised by what the Golden Eagles tried to do on offense.
“What we thought is pretty much what we got we were going to get,” Soren said. “They just do it really well.”
Ferndale marched down the field on each of their first two possessions. Finkbonner capped the game-opening 11-play, 72-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:12 to go in the opening quarter.
After forcing an Everett three-and-out, Ferndale drove 56 yards on seven plays to make it 14-0 with 4:09 to go in the opening quarter.
Then Everett went to work. Herrick had completions of 11, 19, 8 yards and the Seagulls were helped by a fourth-down pass interference call on Ferndale. Herrick hit David Andre on a 4-yard touchdown pass to cap the 11-play, 75-yard drive with 10:29 remaining in the half.
“We had a lot of respect for Everett coming in,” Plenkovich said. “They are a good club and I think the first two drives were a little easy. We were definitely on our heels in the second quarter. I thought they played harder than us in the second quarter. Our kids did a good job of refocusing at halftime and came out and played much better in the second half.”
At Everett Memorial Stadium
F—Finkbonner 1 run (kick failed)
F—Finkbonner 6 run (Locker run)
E—Herrick pass to Andre (Barhanovich kick)
F—Frost 34 pass from Locker (Dunn kick)
F—Finkbonner 4 run (Dunn kick)
F—Frost 9 pass from Locker (Dunn kick)
F—Frost 37 pass from Locker (kick failed)
Records—Ferndale 6-0 overall. Everett 4-2.