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Washington’s Top 50 high school football teams in 2022: No. 17 Ferndale looking to redeem itself from early-season ending

Much of what Golden Eagles do offensively will be behind University of Washington commit Landen Hatchett

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school teams in Washington ahead of the 2022 season. Here’s an inside look at the Ferndale Golden Eagles of the 3A Wesco - the No. 17 team in our countdown:

2021 IN REVIEW

7-3 in 3A Wesco North (first place); lost to Garfield in Class 3A district round.

COACH’S RESUMÉ

  • Jamie Plenkovich, 19th season.
  • Overall record: 147-49.
  • Coordinators (base scheme): Offense – Josh Shimek/Donny Hennigs (Wing-T). Defense – Jamie Plenkovich (4-3).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

RB/LB Thomas Broselle

TE/DL Xander Castleberry

LB Jazen Guillory

RB/LB Elijah McCormick

RB Ryan Pelton

QB Mark Schlichting

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 8. Defense – 10.

TOP PLAYERS

RB/LB Isaiah Carlson, 6-2, 220, sr.

OL/DL Landen Hatchett, 6-3, 305, sr.

OL/DL Jake Mason, 6-3, 240, sr.

TE/LB Jordan Mason, 6-2, 225, sr.

QB/DB Bishop Ootsey, 6-0, 170, jr.

WR/DB Conner Walcker, 6-3, 205, jr.

THREE TO SEE

Isaiah Carlson, running back

All-state caliber tailback won't see full two-way workload (RB/OLB) until later on.

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Landen Hatchett, center

Just does things as a big man that others cannot, especially as middle-of-line blocker.

Jake Mason, defensive end

Teams with Hachett as disruptors, he is one of Ferndale's all-time great pass rushers.

SEASON OUTLOOK

It was an electric start and a disappointing end for Ferndale last season.

A 7-1 regular season set up what looked to be a promising postseason for the Golden Eagles, but a loss to Monroe in the Wesco title game, followed by a loss to Garfield in a district crossover put an early end to their season.

This year, Ferndale has all the pieces to redeem last year's early playoff exit.

"There's some luck involved with how healthy you stay, and we weren't healthy at the end of the year with a couple key guys and sometimes, that hurts," Golden Eagles coach Jamie Plenkovich said.

One of those key injured players last season, Isaiah Carlson, returns  in the backfield and should reap the benefits of running behind an offensive line that includes experienced seniors Landen Hatchett and Jake Mason.

All three are two-way starters for the team, as well.

Hatchett and Mason on the defensive line will be pests to opposing offenses while Carlson will be back in his spot at linebacker.

Plenkovich called Hatchett and Mason the whole package.

"They're not only great players for us, they're great leaders, great kids both on and off the field," Plenkovich said. "We couldn't have better representation of our team. They're very coachable and there's a reason they're getting attention like they have been from the next level."

Junior wide receiver and defensive back Conner Walcker worked his way into the team's identity on both sides of the ball last year as only a sophomore. After starting to train with Ford Sports Performance this offseason, Walcker could be poised for a big junior season.

Losing its starting quarterback from last year, Ferndale does have a question mark at the position heading into its 2022 campaign.

Junior Bishop Ootsey has seen reps at the position this spring and summer, most recently at a four-team jamboree last week, and looks to be the next signal caller for the Golden Eagles.

Ferndale will waste no time trying to figure out its identity this year with its season opener against Lynden, the Class 2A defending state champion. 

"We've got a fair amount of returners, which is always nice," Plenkovich said. "They understand our expectations and what we're trying to do on both sides of the ball. It's a fun group to be around."

2022 SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 2 vs. Lynden (at Blaine HS)
  • Sept. 10 vs. Oak Harbor (at Blaine HS)
  • Sept. 17 at Glacier Peak at Lumen Field
  • Sept. 24 vs. Arlington (at Blaine HS)
  • Sept. 30 at Marysville-Pilchuck
  • Oct. 7 vs. Marysville-Getchell (at Blaine HS)
  • Oct. 14 at Mount Vernon
  • Oct. 21 at Stanwood