BELLINGHAM - From an outsider's perspective, Lynden didn't have much to play for.
The Lions locked up the Northwest Conference title last Friday against Ferndale and know they are facing Sultan in next week's Class 2A district playoff game.
But Lynden knew plenty was riding on its regular season finale against Squalicum.
"The biggest thing is in '04 we beat Ferndale and then the following week lost a game and had to share the conference title," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. "I shared that with the kids. We didn't want to be co-champions and, if you're going to play this game, you have to play it the right way. If you don't, you're asking for trouble."
Squalicum hung with the Lions for a quarter and a half, but Lynden's speed and athleticism proved too much for the Storm as the NWC champs beat Squalicum 49-7 in a NWC 2A/3A game Thursday, Oct. 25, at Civic Stadium.
An outright league title wasn't Lynden's only motivation.
After Kramme finished his postgame handshakes, members of Lynden athletics presented Kramme with a green shirt with the number 200 across the front, signifying Kramme's 200th career win.
"I'm so glad to be a part of it," said Lions running back Luke Christianson of his coach's milestone win. "Coach Kramme puts in so much effort, so much work behind the scenes that nobody is aware of and a lot of people don't understand. He needs to know we as a team appreciate his efforts."
Kramme was quick to deflect praise.
"Well, I didn't really do anything. I was standing on the sidelines for a few games," Kramme said with a small grin. "I've been blessed to be in a fantastic program. We've had great players throughout the course of the years, and that's what it's about. To be able to achieve that goal is fun."
While the Lions' postseason was set before kickoff, Squalicum needed a win to clinch the NWC's No. 2 seed and earn a home district playoff game.
Squalicum coach Reed Richardson told his team before the game to not focus on how strong the opponent is but, instead, "control what you can do."
Lynden quickly put Squalicum in a hole, as quarterback Josh Kraght connected with receiver Zach Vis on a slant route for a 58-yard score on the second play on the game.
Following two Storm three-and-outs sandwiched by a Lynden turnover on downs, Christianson capped a seven-play, 55-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run to put Lynden ahead 14-0 with 2:17 left in the first quarter.
The Storm, which threw 10 total passes last week, threw 10 times in the first half and was playing without leading rusher Luke Weber. Richardson didn't disclose the reason for Weber's absence and said he wasn't sure if his junior back would be available next week.
Early in the second quarter, Storm quarterback Clark Hazlett finished an 11-play, 46-yard drive with a 19-yard TD pass to running back Nick Manchester.
Hazlett finished 8 of 17 for 70 yards and was responsible for Squalicum's only score. Manchester led the Storm's rushing attack with 38 yards on 10 carries.
"We wanted to take what their defense gave us," Richardson said. "We felt like (throwing) was there a little bit."
Following another score by Christianson, who ran for a game-high 192 yards on 20 carries, Kraght found receiver Dak Shagren on a seam route for an 88-yard touchdown to put the Lions in front 28-7 with 1:33 left until halftime.
Kraght, who didn't throw a pass in the second half, finished with 297 yards and two TDs. Vis caught eight balls - all in the first half - for 142 yards.
Christianson added his third score 3:09 into the third quarter as he took a halfback delay around the right side for a 69-yard touchdown.
A little more than two minutes later, backup Lynden quarterback Cameron Wainwright found John Shine in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown strike to give the Lions a 42-7 lead. Vis, who played quarterback for a couple series, ran for a 3-yard score for Lynden's final touchdown.
The Lions' defense held the Storm to six first downs - three in the first half - and 48 rushing yards.
"It's always good to see the defense play that well," Christianson said. "Their fullback No. 23 is a great player. Our linebackers and D-line took care of it, and it was a great game."
Lynden faces Sultan next week in the 2A District playoffs, and Squalicum will host a playoff game or travel to play Archbishop Murphy depending on the result of the Burlington-Edison versus Sedro-Woolley game Friday, Oct. 26.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
Lynden 14 14 21 0- 49
Squalicum 0 7 0 0- 7
LYN - Zach Vis 58 pass from Josh Kraght (Alex Otano-Guenther kick)
LYN - Luke Christianson 1 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
SQ - Nick Manchester 19 pass from Clark Hazlett (Quinn Carpenter kick)
LYN - Christianson 6 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
LYN - Dak Shagren 88 pass from Kraght (Otano-Guenther kick)
LYN - Christianson 69 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
LYN - John Shine 44 pass from Cameron Wainwright (Otano-Guenther kick)
LYN - Vis 3 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
First downs 23 6
Rushing Att-Yards 35-232 29-48
Comp-Att-Int 17-23-1 8-17-0
Passing yards 372 70
Penalties-yards 4-30 2-20
Fumbles-lost 2-0 3-2
RUSHING - Lynden: Luke Christianson 20-192, Cameron Wainwright 6-23, Josh Kraght 2-4, Zach Vis 3-10, Trent Postma 1-3, Ryan Mouat 1-(-2), Colby Spady 1-0, Jesse Fremolaro 1-2. Squalicum: Nick Manchester 10-38, Mac Novak 6-15, Clark Hazlett 7-(-1), Blaze Yetter 1-(-4), DJ Mitchell 3-(-5), Jordan Campbell 1-4, Kenny Williams 1-1.
PASSING - Lynden: Josh Kraght 14-17-0-297, Cameron Wainwright 3-6-1-75. Squalicum: Clark Hazlett 8-17-0-70.
RECEIVING - Lynden: Zach Vis 8-142, Dak Shagren 3-95, Jalani Phelps 2-56, John Shine 2-53, Scotter Hastings 1-22, Luke Christianson 1-4. Squalicum: Blaze Yetter 4-28, Nick Manchester 1-19, Brock Jorgensen 1-9, Ben Garcia 2-14.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.