ferndale_defense

Ferndale scored twice in a little more than two minutes in the second quarter then made it stand up for a 12-0 victory over visiting Hancock, Md., Saturday.

The Yellow Jackets were powered by the rushing performance of Dave Horvath, who had 135 yards on 15 carries.

Horvath also had eight receptions for 71 yards and picked off two passes on defense. Both interceptions stopped Hancock drives at the Ferndale 10-yard line.

Ferndale coach Joe Arcurio had high praise for his sophomore tailback.

“He is just a tough, tough kid and his effort can just never be questioned,” Arcurio said. “Our line had one of those days where they did well, then at times did not do so well. Even in the moments where they did not do so well, he (Horvath) found a way to gain yards and it carried us (Saturday).”

Arcurio wanted to stress that there was another force at work in their contest with the Panthers, a 12th man. Homecoming brought out additional fans and alumni as well as a black-and-gold student section labeled the “Student BEE Crazies” that gave an injection of energy to the previously winless Jackets.

“I can’t even tell you what it meant to us, a shutout to boot,” Arcurio said. “The biggest crowd of the year, after all the struggles we have had, the alum and the student body showing up the way they did. Our players knew they had people behind them, it energized them and when they had the chance they responded.”

That chance came late in the second quarter when Ferndale got its first score on a 4-yard pass from Hayden Stumpo to John Martin at the 2:50 mark.

After a failed two-point conversion attempt Ferndale kicked off and Hancock fumbled the ball back to its 4-yard line.

The Panthers recovered but after a three-and-out, punted with Ferndale taking over at the Hancock 30-yard line.

Stumpo connected on a 17-yard score to Ryan Gaunt on a fourth-and-15 shortly thereafter.

For the team that had traveled from Maryland to Ferndale it was apparently a familiar feeling.

“Give Ferndale credit, they made plays when given the chance but the problem is, and has been all season for us, we give those chances, “ Hancock coach Dave Mahaffey said. “Even with the first score we were right in this game, but then the self-inflicted wound, turn the ball back over that deep with under a minute left and (Ferndale) turned it into points.”

Adding to the problems for Hancock, starting quarterback Garret Wiles broke his ankle to start the second half.

After Wiles was taken away on a stretcher, the Panthers were 0-for-6 throwing the ball with two interceptions.

The Yellow Jackets defense held the Panthers running game in check, giving up only 69 yards on 28 attempts.

“This is a young team and really not a large team in size or numbers, but they have been working hard and staying focused despite some rough times and (Saturday) they saw that it can pay off,” said Arcurio. “The defense played a heck of a game and it was a big win for the players, the coaches and especially our fans.”

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