FERNDALE -- A final chapter in a storybook season is being written for members of the Ferndale High football team.
Twelve of them, three-fourths of the regular varsity roster, have been chosen by coaches to the All-Humboldt-Del Norte League team.
Ferndale completed a 12-1 season last week with a 26-8 victory over Justin-Siena to win the North Coast Section Class A championship. It was the 11 NCS title for the Wildcats since playoffs began in 1975.
H-DNL selections were made for both the Little Four Conference, whose coaches named Ferndale's Brad Killingsworth and Tyler Toste as co-most valuable players, and the Big Five Conference, whose coaches named Flynt Pierce of Del Norte as the outstanding back and Nick Martinelli of Eureka as the outstanding lineman.
However, it was the Ferndale team that drew most of the attention this season, missing an unbeaten season with less than a minute remaining in its non-conference game with Del Norte when Pierce led the Warriors to a 19-15 win.
The Wildcats rolled impressively, led by Killingsworth's multi-faceted abilities at quarterback, running back and on defense, and by Toste's workmanlike play as the team's top ballcarrier and defensive signal caller at tackle.
They had only one close call in five conference games, playing to a scoreless tie at South Fork before scoring in overtime, and one in the playoffs, coming back in their second-round match at John Swett.
Other than that, Ferndale met little resistance after the opening weeks of the season.
Killingsworth and Toste were joined on the all-league team by linemen Scott Ghianelli, Ryan Pedrotti, Kelly Killingsworth and Orrin Goldsby, running back-linebacker Adam Bugenig, tight end-linebacker Luke Miranda and quarterback-defensive back Brandon Holliday.
Lineman Aaron Paine, back Ryan DaOro and all-around talent Travis Gothier were named honorable mention.
Among Big Five Conference schools, Eureka had 13 all-league selections, led by Martinelli, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound guard who excelled throughout the season.
Even while the Loggers were struggling at the outset of the year, losing their first five games, Martinelli was getting high marks for his blocking and leadership abilities.
Other Eureka players named were senior quarterback Brandon Rasmussen, arguably the area's best at his position by the end of the year, senior linebacker Steve Morgan, senior linebacker Cory Crnich, junior linebacker Steve Swanson, junior running back Sam Vainuku, junior receiver Mo Purify, and sophomore linebacker Reynold Maualuga.
Five other Eureka players -- senior lineman Max Schaal, senior defensive lineman Chris Brooks, senior defensive back Eddie Vainuku, junior linebacker Jack Senicola and junior defensive lineman Marcus Coleman -- were given honorable selection.
Eureka finished its season 6-6, losing to eventual NCS champion Rancho Cotate in a second-round playoff game.
The Loggers were 5-0 in the Big Five and scored a victory in the first round of the NCS playoffs.
Individually, Vainuku and Purify were consistent big-play performers on offense for Eureka, and Rasmussen, who missed several games after a hand injury in the team's opening game, was a solidifying presence late in the year.
Pierce passed for more than a thousand yards as Del Norte, expected to be one of the area's premier teams, finished 5-4.
However, his offensive play, along with that of H-DNL selections Brandon Cole and David Nelson, made the Warriors an explosive threat every week.
Also chosen from Del Norte were Juan Rodriguez, a senior linebacker, and Travis Coulsen, the team's placekicker who also starred as a lineman and linebacker.
Perhaps the most imposing of the Del Norte players was senior tight end Wesley Thomas, an individual his coach Tony Fabricius believes has potential to play collegiately. Thomas, senior lineman Steve Skinner, junior linebacker Kendall Giddings and sophomore defensive lineman Joe Larson were honorable mention selections.
Among Big Five Conference teams, Arcata had two all-league selections (receiver-defensive back Chris Stumpf and defensive end-guard Zack Carper), Fortuna had five (senior fullback-linebacker Bret Herman, senior lineman Craig Griesbach, senior end Brent MacMillan, junior back Colby Free and junior lineman Dustin Beagle), and McKinleyville had two (senior backs Clay Hicks and Allen Lamb).
Among honorable mention selections, five were from Arcata, seven from Fortuna and three from McKinleyville, along with those from Eureka and Del Norte.
In the Little Four, St. Bernard's had four all-league selections -- senior lineman Ross Long and Jon Omey, senior back Jack Ryan Naylor and junior back Billy Rakestraw -- and South Fork had seven -- senior backs Mark Cadena, Deron Freeman, Trevor Eldridge and Adam Eastham and senior linemen Anzania Jackson, Will Moore and Lonnie Whitlow.
Hoopa, which did not field a team for the final games of conference play, had no all-league representation.
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