Ferris football players have taken to the road twice with positive results. The Saxons are hoping to make it three.
“We’re 2-0 when we left this town and actually played our two best games,” Ferris coach Jim Sharkey said of wins in California and Wenatchee. “Hopefully, we can keep it going.”
Ferris faces unbeaten Eisenhower in Yakima at 1 p.m. Saturday. Ike is making just its third state appearance, and the first since 1992. Picked for the middle of its division following a year in which the team was ruined by poor chemistry – according to what coach Dan Eyman told the Tri-City Herald before the season – it has proved just the opposite.
“They are just one of those teams that find a way every week,” Sharkey said. “It’s a special group of seniors who don’t make a lot of mistakes and don’t beat themselves.”
When the Columbia Basin Big Nine all-league team came out, 11 Cadets were first team in their division.
West Valley (Yakima) transfer Joe Fuerst, 5-foot-10 and 187 pounds, has been the workhorse back, rushing for 1,623 yards in league. New quarterback James Lopez, 6-1 and 175, threw for 1,699 yards. Ike has a solid receiving corps, led by Antonio Martinez (24 catches, 853 yards) and a sizeable line.
“They are a very good, run-first, football team,” Sharkey said. “But what’s definitely a concern is they did a decent job throwing the ball last week against Southridge.”
Sharkey compares their pistol look to East Valley, with isolation power running and a counter boot play-action passing style.
Ferris, meanwhile, has been playing its best in postseason with wins over two other CBBN schools, previously unbeaten Wenatchee and Kamiakin.
The Saxons can attack areas with a quarterback and complement of receivers the likes of which Ike hasn’t faced. Connor Halliday last Friday surpassed 3,000 yards (3,241) for the season with a 17-for-28, 307-yard, four-touchdown effort to six targets. He has 32 TDs overall.
Lineman Russell Stinson, who has been out several games with an injury, is due back.
“We’re at the point in the season where we look at our half of the bracket and think we can compete with anybody,” Sharkey said. “At the same time, we can lose to anybody. It will be interesting to see how we do with a day game, going on the road, on grass again.”