Lynden's defense followed the motto of "bend but don't break" during its state championship run in 2011.
The Lions had no problem giving up yards between the 20s, but once an opposing offense breached the red zone, Lynden's defense got airtight.
Sure, the Lions surrendered four first-half touchdown passes on Friday against King's, but those TDs came against future BYU quarterback Billy Green and a core of talented receivers. Not to mention, the Lions' secondary had one day to prepare for the Knights' passing attack.
Three of the four first-half passing touchdowns the Lions allowed occurred on the same seam route.
King's found a soft spot in Lynden's defense beyond the outside linebacker and deep safety. The Knights exploited the open space again and again during the first 24 minutes of the game.
"We did some things well, and we made some critical errors," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said.
In the second half, Lynden's defense played much better, allowing only two TDs - one of which came on a fourth-and-goal from the Lynden 13.
The Lions' defense got Lynden back in the game by forcing a King's three-and-out when Lynden trailed 35-32 early in the fourth. The Lions took possession, marched down the field and scored a touchdown to take a 39-35 lead.
Unfortunately for the Lions, their defense couldn't stop the Knights during their final drive of the game.
"We will get more out of this game than we would have if we had beaten a team in a blowout," Kramme said.
Lynden defensive end Gabe Kaemingk played outstandingly. On the second play of the game, Kaemingk batted a Green pass in the air and intercepted the ball, putting the Lions in prime scoring position. He also recorded two sacks.
BAKER DEFENSE A SCORING MACHINE
Bellingham may have won the turnover battle 4-3 against Mount Baker during their season opener on Friday, Aug. 31, but the Mountaineers made their takeaways hurt just a little more.
Though Bellingham got a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown from Isaiah White in the second quarter, Mount Baker returned all three the Red Raiders' miscues for scores.
Zan Roman actually got things started when he returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown on Bellingham's first drive.
"Zan made a really nice return with a couple of nice open field moves," Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said.
A little more than a quarter later, Mount Baker's other cornerback, Seth Bass, got into the act, when he scooped up an incomplete swing pass and raced 37 yards for a score.
"That was a real smart play by Seth to keep playing," Lepper said.
And Joey Walton finished the night off by returning an interception 65 yards for a score.
"Joey Walton made a great break on that ball to make the interception, and then did a good job of open-field running," Lepper said. "Three defensive touchdowns - I don't think you ever come into a game expecting that."
Friday's game marked the first on the sideline in seven years for new Bellingham coach Steve Wilson.
Wilson, who had previously coached at Squalicum until 2005, took over for the departed Doug Trainor.
"I was more interested in keeping my guys up," Wilson said. "I really didn't have time to think about what it meant to me."
BLAINE DEFENSE, SPECIAL TEAMS STEP UP
The Blaine defensive and special teams units looked impressive in their opening-game victory over New Westminster (B.C.), holding the Hyacks to just 152 yards of total offense.
"We swarmed to the ball on defense," Borderites coach Jay Dodd said. "We had a lot of jerseys around the ball, and we just played hard."
The special teams, which routinely gave up big plays and forced the Borderites' defense to defend a shortened field last season, played well, holding the Hyacks to their half of the field for much of the game.
"Special teams covered well and tackled well tonight," Dodd said.
COOPER TRANSITIONS NICELY
Ferndale's is in the midst of major transitions as a team. Coming off of a 5-5 season and missing the state tournament for the first time since 2002, changes had to be made.
One of the major chages was at quarterback, where unior Cooper Clark transitioned from wide receiver to starting signal caller for the Golden Eagles after the graduation of three-year starter Jake Frost.
"Cooper has done a great job with the transition," coach Jamie Plenkovich said. "We felt he would be a good guy to lead the team after what we saw from him in the spring. He has all the right tools and is exactly what we were looking for in that position."
Clark was 3 for 6 with 67 yards passing and a touchdown in Ferndale's opening game against Notre Dame.
SQUALICUM STARTS SEASON STRONG
What a difference a win makes.
Squalicum opened its 2012 season with a 27-10 non-conference victory over Kingston on Friday at Civic Stadium.
The Storm didn't get its first win of the 2011 season until Week 5, when it won at Anacortes 13-12. That win helped Squalicum finish the season 3-3, but an 0-4 start had already put the team in a big hole.
"It's huge," Squalicum coach Reed Richardson said. "It was really exciting to get that win."
The Storm next heads to Sedro-Woolley (0-1). A win would not only give Squalicum its second win, a mark it didn't reach until Week 7 last year, but also a 1-0 start in NWC 2A/3A play.
"That's a 2A game and puts us in a great spot if we can get a 'W,'" Richardson said.
The feeling of opening the season with a victory trickled down to the players as well.
"We are feeling good with a big 'W,'" linebacker Sam Olney said.
PIONEERS DEAL WITH LIGHTNING DELAY
Nooksack Valley's imposing 6-foot-6 senior offensive tackle, Michael Whitmer, is a straight-A student who knows a good story when he hears one.
Whitmer heard one, all right, when - on a night the skies over Nooksack were as clear as could be - the Pioneers' 17-6 win over Sehome was delayed for well over half an hour early in the second half. The officials had spotted lightning flashes in the Canadian distance and were required to halt play until they could no longer be seen.
"Our coach T.J. (longtime line coach T.J. Ackerman, who has been involved in football for many years) said the only time anything like this had ever happened to him was when he was playing in a game that was delayed by a tornado," Whitmer said.
Whitmer was pleased that the team took the delay seriously.
"They had mostly silence in the locker room," said Whitmer, who was thrilled to find himself out front as part of a convoy for sophomore quarterback Tanner Myhre's 47-yard run on the first play after the game resumed.
Whitmer and his eight fellow senior starters have all played four years, for the most part waiting for their turn in the spotlight of a long series of solid Nooksack teams.
"This was a pretty exciting game (despite the delay)," he said with typical understatement.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.