With his 290 yards on Friday, Oct. 12, Blaine's Mario Gobbato surpassed 5,000 career rushing yards, becoming the 16th high school back in state history to accomplish the feat, according to David Maley at gridironbeeze.proboards.com.
Gobbato, who also scored four touchdowns in the Borderites' 34-27 victory over Meridian, now has 5,102 career yards on 645 career attempts (7.9 average) and 66 touchdowns.
"That means a lot to us," Blaine offensive lineman James Fakkema said. "Mario's a great back, too. I mean, he has to be to run for as many yards as he has. But it's pretty neat to be a part of that all. We've had to do it with sometimes 10 guys in the box. But we know if we make our blocks, Mario is the kind of back that can make a big play."
The career rushing record in the state is probably safe from Gobbato, as Timberline's Jonathan Stewart is credited with 7,755 yards. But Gobbato could realistically climb into the top five and conceivably the top three in the state annals by the time he's finished.
Plus there's the matter of the single-season record that Blaine tried to get Gobbato to last year, only to come up a little shy. Interlake's Jordan Todd did break the record last year (with two extra games), setting the new mark at 2,681.
After seven games, Gobbato currently has 1,805 yards on 199 carries. Last year after seven games he was at 1,623 yards on 212 carries, as he went on to finish with 2,669 yards.
"Mario is a special back, but the thing that makes him extraordinary is what a great teammate he is," Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. "He cares so much more about his teammates and helping his team winning than he does any of these statistics."
BIG PLAYS HIGHLIGHT RIVALRY GAME
The way Storm players mobbed coach Reed Richardson after shaking hands with Sehome following Squalicum's 28-20 win Friday night, there was no doubting how important winning a city title meant.
Squalicum scored on two long drives in the second half. The first was a 10-play, 66 yard drive, to start the third quarter, and the Storm put the game away with an eight-play, 87-yard drive. It was the Storm's ability to make big plays, though, that helped them get a win.
The first momentum-changer was Nick Manchester's 30-yard touchdown return after Sehome's Daniel Ziegler put the ball of the turf to tie the game at 7-7.
Another key play happened on Squalicum quarterback Clark Hazlett's only completion of the game. Tied 14-14, the Storm had the ball at the Sehome 34-yard line facing a fourth-and-10 situation. Hazlett found running back Brandon LeDoux for a 15-yard pickup. The next play, Luke Weber scored from 19 yards out.
Arguably the biggest play of the night came when Sehome was driving late in the fourth for the go-ahead score. The Mariners marched from the 50 down to Squalicum's 13 with roughly four minutes left, but Squalicum stripped Ziegler again and recovered its fourth fumble of the contest.
However, one of the most intelligent plays came from Sehome's Titi Lamositele. Late in the third quarter, the Mariners faced a fourth-and-2 on the Squalicum 49. Lamositele took a handoff and got stacked up before he could reach the line of scrimmage. As Lamositele fell, he pitched the ball backwards to quarterback Austin Rapp, who ran around the right end for 15 yards and a first down.
PIONEERS ENJOY STRONG GROUND PERFORMANCE
The Nooksack Valley defense held the Lynden Christian offense to only 156 yards. They also forced six turnovers and 75 yards in penalties. To put that into perspective, Nooksack Valley's Tanner Myhre ran for 158 yards himself, threw for 61 and had 23 receiving.
"It was really a great job by our lines," Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre said. "We wanted to set the tempo for the game. We also wanted to establish a run game, which we haven't had the last few weeks, so that was nice to get."
Nooksack also received offensive help from Bret Rediger, who ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Trey Handy ran for 21 yards and a touchdown.
"I thought Trey had a great game," Robb Myhre said. "He was very unselfish. They were doubling him and we weren't able to get him as involved as we would have liked."
BLACKHAWKS GET TWO WINS IN THREE DAYS
Lummi coach Jim Sandusky scheduled two games in three days, and the Blackhawks responded with two resounding wins. On Friday they beat visiting Clallam Bay 73-18, collecting 637 total yards. The purpose of two games in a week, Sandusky explained, was to get playing time to everyone and "to spread the ball around."
The Blackhawks did just that, using two quarterbacks to find six receivers. Five of the receivers caught TD passes. Lummi also had eight different players run the ball, with only Devin Cooper rushing more than twice. He led the team with 92 yards on four carries. Altogether, the Blackhawks gained 322 yards on the ground, averaging almost 25 yards per play.
Blocking on the line and downfield opened opportunities for receivers and ball carriers.
"We worked a lot on that stuff," Sandusky said. "It's a big part of our game."
LIONS MAKE STOPS WHEN NEEDED
Lynden's defense made stops when it needed to during its 34-7 win Friday, Oct. 12, against Burlington-Edison.
Twice in the third quarter the Tigers picked their way downfield to get into the Lions' red zone, and both times Lynden forced the Tigers to turn the ball over on downs.
"Yards don't equal points," senior quarterback/defensive back Josh Kraght said. "We'd like to get that shutout, but we think we played pretty well on defense."
REDMOND FILLS IN ADMIRABLY FOR INJURED PRUETT
Bellingham lost quarterback Justin Pruett early in its game Friday, Oct. 12, against Ferndale. Bellingham coach Steve Wilson said Pruett injured his knee, but didn't know the full extent of the injury.
Kyle Redmond stepped in for Pruett and played well.
Redmond showed off his arm on a couple deep throws his wide receivers were unable to haul in. If Pruett misses time with injury, Redmond showed he is a capable backup.
ZAVALA'S PLAY INVALUABLE FOR BAKER
For three football seasons, senior Edgar Zavala has been an old-fashioned triple threat for Mount Baker as a kicker. He has handled well over 200 plays -- in fact, perhaps more than 300 plays -- as a short-distance and long-distance placekicker, kickoff man and punter.
Now he's starting to reap the rewards of his improvement, with help from senior long-snapper Matt Scoles and junior holder Seth Bass, both of whom play major roles on Baker's defense.
"I really love it," Zavala said of being responsible for all of Baker's kicking. "I've always wanted to do all the kicking."
In Baker's past three games, Zavala has booted his first four field goals of the season in his first four attempts, including a career-long 39-yarder in the Mounties' 36-7 victory over Friday Harbor. The Wolverines were the victim as Zavala kicked two field goals for the first time in the same game at Baker.
Coach Ron Lepper noted that Zavala holds both the season and career marks for kick-scoring at Baker. He has 48 points this season and hopes to add more as the regular season winds up with games that will decide the Northwest Conference Class 1A title. Baker (6-1, 3-0) plays at Blaine on Friday, Oct. 19, and hosts Meridian on Oct. 26, hoping to earn the conference's top post-season seed.
High school running backs (11 man football) in the state of Washington who have surpassed 5,000 career yards rushing:
Player School Years Yards Games
Jonathan Stewart Timberline (3A) 2001-04 7,755 39
Matt Hadley Connell (1A) 2008-11 6,881 53
Jerod Moore Wahkiakum (B-11) 1996-99 6,128 38
Mike Brown Adna (B-11, 1A) 1992-95 6,038 43
Brandon Jumper Eatonville (1A) 1984-87 5,910 42
Charlie Velling Cascade Christian (1A) 2004-07 5,719 48
J.R. Hasty Bellevue (3A) 2002-04 5,493 40
Pete Cruickshank Cashmere (2A) 1999-2002 5,456 43
Akeem Anthony Lakes (3A) 1999-2002 5,449 41
Pat Bennett Forks (2A) 1997-2000 5,420 38
Tyree Clowe Central Valley (4A) 1996-98 5,411 34
Todd Basler Elma (2A) 1999-2002 5,287 40
Larry Dixon Olympic (3A) 2007-09 5,222 30
Bishop Sankey Gonzaga Prep (4A) 2008-10 5,139 25
Mario Gobbato Blaine (2A, 1A) 2010-12* 5,102 27
Josh Bousman Tacoma Baptist (1A) 1999-2002 5,049 46
CLASS 2A/3A GAME OF THE WEEK
FERNDALE AT LYNDEN
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at Lynden
OK, so it's more like the game of the year than just the game of the week. For the first time in a while, the Ferndale-Lynden rivalry should be worth the hype. Both teams enter with perfect NWC 2A/3A marks and have displayed offenses capable of putting plenty of points on the board. Because of that, whoever plays better defensively should have a distinct advantage. The winner has the inside track to the league title.
CLASS 1A GAME OF THE WEEK
MOUNT BAKER AT BLAINE
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at Blaine
Last year, these two schools were the smallest in the Class 2A ranks. This year, they're living large after reclassification. But make no doubt about it, both teams would be pretty good no matter what level they were playing at. Expect a lot of running, as Blaine's Mario Gobbato and Mount Baker's Jake Schleimer go head to head. The winner puts itself in great position to win the league title and claim an automatic berth to the state playoffs.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.