Fairfax scored 21 points against Ferndale in the first half (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

After putting on a strong passing performance and implementing suffocating defense in the first half, the Fairfax Lions fell to the Ferndale Wildcats 21-29 in the 7-AA State Championship.

“We were doing everything that we planned,” said Fairfax senior Sebastian Ikolo. “We executed the first half and we just didn’t get the job done.”

Lions quarterback Ivan Levant targeted Ikolo in the first two plays of the game, one resulting in a 46-yard advance. Two plays later, senior Henry Prince scored on a one-yard rush.

On the Lion’s next possession, sophomore Issac Andrews caught a 15-yard pass then made a ten-yard run. Levant then connected with Ikolo for a 38-yard gain and a first-in-goal. Lions junior Darvens Joseph committed an eight-yard run to score. With 4:53 left in the first quarter, the Lions were up 14-0.

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The Wildcats could not work things out on either side of the ball. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Pidgeon made incomplete passes and sophomore Prescott Langer struggled to gain yardage on runs.

Fairfax was on third and goal when Ferndale junior Jonah Anderson recovered a fumble. His return, along with a penalty on the Lions allowed the Wildcats to start on Fairfax’s 30-yardline. They only progressed 11 yards before turning it over on downs.

On their first play on offense, Levant slung to Ikolo to commit a 75-yard touchdown. Ferndale progressed down the field to fumble at Fairfax’s 12-yard line. Three plays later, Levant was sacked for a loss of seven yards. The Wildcats blocked the Lions’ punt on fourth down, committing a safety.

Despite their slow start, the Wildcats kept their heads in the game. As time was running out in the second quarter, they committed a flea-flicker play and relied on scrambles by Pidgeon to score their first touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion, the Wildcats had eight points.

At Halftime Fairfax was up 21-8.

The Lions started the game by making large passes (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Ferndale bet on their running game in the second half, scrambles by Pidgeon and runs by Langer helped them advance. Pidgeon scored a 40-yard rushing touchdown, edging their score up to 15.

“We kinda figured out that we could actually power through them,” Langer said. “We realized that we were still in this and we did not give up at all.”

An offside kick gave the Wildcats another possession. Langer made it a night to remember as he carried the Ferndale offense down the field. With a six-yard scoring run, the Wildcats secured their first lead of the matchup with 5:40 left in the third quarter.

The Lions squad that made passing plays in the first half struggled to soar on offense. Langer advanced the Wildcats to the Lions’ redzone before they turned the ball over on downs. On a third down, Levant was picked off by senior Isaak Kasso.

The Wildcats offense started up on Fairfax’s 31-yard line and rushes from Pidgeon and senior Trent Titus advanced them to a first-and-goal. Pidgeon scored one more time for the Wildcats, pegging their score at 29.

Prince came in as quarterback but could not land any of his passes. The Lions defeated the Chatsworth Chancellors 20-14 to win the Division II City Section Championships.