Meridian used a number of offensive threats during its 1A clash at Nooksack Valley on Friday.
Junior Castro, Evan Childs and Letrez Jones handled the ground attack and quarterback Max McGuinn threw just enough to keep the Pioneers off balance.
What really made the Trojans' offense run, was their offensive line play.
Spencer Blackburn, Neal Tilbury, Kaleb Heezen, Jacob Dennis and Tucker Garcia opened huge holes and gave McGuinn plenty of time to find receivers downfield.
Meridian picked up 24 first downs, and ran for 307 yards for an average of 5.3 yards per carry.
The work in trenches helped the Trojans run the clock and keep Nooksack Valley off the scoreboard.
BORDERITES EXPERIENCES RIGORS OF TRAVEL DURING FRIDAY HARBOR TRIP
While there are many obvious benefits to dropping down to Class 1A, the Blaine football team was educated on one minor drawback on Friday, when it had to travel to Friday Harbor for a Northwest Conference 1A game.
"Man this is a long, long ride over here," Cole Muder said. "I don't like it at all."
Blaine had to leave early in the afternoon for the long bus ride to Anacortes so that it could catch a ferry early enough to arrive in time for a junior varsity game, before the 7 p.m. varsity kickoff.
After the Borderites held on for a 26-19 victory over the Wolverines in a game ending at 9:30 p.m., coach Jay Dodd quickly dismissed the team to change and get on the bus so it could catch the day's last ferry back to the mainland at 10:05 p.m.
"I want to know what would have happened if we went to overtime?" assistant coach Sean Linville said on the ferry.
Fortunately, that wasn't tested, but Dodd hopes his team got something out of the trip, besides a nice sunny day out in the San Juans and, of course, the victory.
"It was a long bus ride and a long ride on the ferry, and it's different from the normal road trip we make," Dodd said on the ferry. "It's a good experience, and hopefully we can learn from it. We're still a long ways away from November, and we hope that we're fortunate enough to still be playing then, but if we are, there could be some pretty long trips involved, and it's good to have this experience."
DESPITE INJURY, FERNDALE'S O-LINE IMPRESSES
It was a proud but painfully bittersweet night for longtime Ferndale line coach Rick Brudwick as he helped coach the unbeaten Golden Eagles to 492 total yards, including 115 by reserves in the second half, in a 55-14 victory over Sedro-Woolley.
Brudwick's nephew, starting center Kyler Brudwick, was forced out late in the first quarter when the 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore sustained an ankle injury of undetermined severity.
"It was Kyler's first start on defense," said Rick, noting the irony of his nephew being hurt while playing on that side of the ball.
"We hope to know soon the extent of Kyler's injury," said head coach Jamie Plenkovich.
Anthony Pace, a 215-pound senior, came in at center and didn't miss a beat with starting quarterback Cooper Clark, who got the unusual opportunity to throw touchdown passes to Richmond Baardson and Luke Melton for a team that came in averaging 385 yards on the ground. The Golden Eagles battered the Cubs with 389 yards, even though the starters left on the opening series of the second half.
Of Ferndale's 30 first-half plays, the offensive line was so effective 14 of those plays produced gains of at least 10 yards.
Senior kicker Wyatt Dunn not only went 7 for 7 on conversions, but also demonstrated a mighty powerful leg with high, handsome touchbacks on his first two kickoffs.
STORM ENJOYS STRONG SECOND HALF
It took until the second half for Squalicum to get on track against the visiting Anacortes Seahawks, but it finally prevailed 28-7 on Friday, Oct. 6, at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.
Anacortes came into the game winless in five games, and Squalicum suffered its first loss last weekend at the hands undefeated Ferndale. Squalicum's need to get back in the win column was delayed, however, as Anacortes came out with a hard-hitting running game that resulted in a 7-7 tie at half time.
Squalicum quarterback Clark Hazlett found Ben Garcia in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown pass midway through the first quarter, but a sustained drive by Anacortes resulted in the equalizer, thanks to a grind-it-out running game with Nick Monroe leading the way.
Squalicum regrouped at halftime and came out with better discipline, going to six running backs to vary the attack. Nick Manchester, who didn't touch the ball in the first half, took it nine times in the second half for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Luke Weber (79 total rushing yards) and Brandon LeDoux (44) kept Squalicum in control the second half.
Meanwhile, the Storm defense shut down Anacortes, with defensive back Trey Hunter intercepting three passes to kill drives and set up good field position. Squalicum held Anacortes to just two of nine passing for 24 yards.
LYNCS AND MOUNTIES PUT UP SIMILAR NUMBERS
The score line didn't show it, but there wasn't much separating the Lynden Christian offense from Mount Baker's in the 43-26 loss.
While the Mountaineers had 335 yards rushing, they only had 78 passing. The Lyncs had 357 yards passing and 67 passing.
The difference, though, was turnovers. Mount Baker lost one fumble, but the Lyncs lost two and threw two interceptions.
"We took the ball down to their end a lot and would give it up," Lynden Christian coach Galen Kaemingk said. "Credit to Mount Baker, they finished their chances."
LIONS SHOW OFF THEIR ATHLETES
Lynden quarterback Josh Kraght threw for 51 yards and one touchdown against Bellingham Friday, Oct. 5. Kraght added a 26-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, finishing the game with 68 yards rushing on six carries.
Senior athlete Hudson Gratton split reps with Kraght at quarterback in the first half. Gratton added a 7-yard touchdown pass to Zac Vis in the second quarter.
"There are just so many weapons," senior tailback Luke Christianson said. "Any one of our receivers is going to be tough, and you have (Kraght), who runs the ball like a freak...it makes [game planning] pretty tough."
NWC 2A/3A GAME OF THE WEEK
SQUALICUM AT SEHOME
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Civic Stadium
Not only will this one likely decide the City Championship, the winner will definitely get a leg up in the 2A postseason race. Squalicum has already proven it's a contender to earn a spot in the Northwest District's playoffs, and Sehome proved it can't be overlooked, either, with its one-point victory over Burlington-Edison on Friday, Oct. 5. Burlington will have its work cut out for it to avoid losing two straight, as it hosts Lynden.
NWC 1A GAME OF THE WEEK
MERIDIAN AT BLAINE
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at Blaine High School
Two of the three teams unbeaten in NWC 1A play square off in an old Whatcom County League rematch. After dropping its first two, Meridian appears to be getting its legs underneath it, as it picked up its fourth straight win, while Blaine is coming off a hard-fought win at Friday Harbor. Borderites running back Mario Gobbato also needs only 188 yards rushing to reach 5,000 in his career.