NOOKSACK - Robb Myhre coached and son Tanner Myhre played quarterback with unexpectedly heavy hearts while preserving Nooksack Valley's postseason football hopes.
The Pioneers were about to celebrate their 34-28 victory over Blaine on Thursday, Oct. 25, when Robb Myhre stunned them by telling the team that Robb's father and Tanner's grandfather, Nooksack fan Ken Myhre, died unexpectedly not long before the game started.
"I was there (at his father's home) until about 15 minutes before the game, and I told Tanner about five minutes before the game," Robb Myhre said, shortly after he emotionally thanked his team for a memorable effort.
Tanner, however, was the only Nooksack player who knew. He responded brilliantly to the emotional pressure as he led the Pioneers into a Kansas Tiebreaker playoff along with Blaine and Meridian, which was a 30-8 loser to Northwest Conference No. 1 Class 1A playoff seed Mount Baker.
The Tiebreaker, which will decide which two teams will join Mount Baker in the playoffs, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. at Civic Stadium.
Tanner Myhre, recalling what a big fan his grandfather was, played the game of the sophomore quarterback's life on a marathon-length night. He completed 24 of 42 passes for 294 yards and touchdowns of 4 yards to Trey Handy and 5 yards to Joey Scheffer in the first half half, then for 71 yards to Bret Rediger on a screen pass and 31 yards to Scheffer, both in the fourth quarter.
Myhre ran 18 times for 142 yards, helping set up all four of his touchdown passes, and also scored on a 15-yard run in the second quarter.
"None of us knew (about Ken Myhre's death) except Tanner knew," said Scheffer, one of the team captains. "Coach Myhre has always been there for us, and now we're there for him, for Tanner, and for their family."
Scheffer, who also completed a 22-yard pass to Curtis Handy on a trick play, finished with eight catches for 123 yards in the best game of his career. His 31-yarder with 3:15 to play put the Pioneers up 34-20.
Blaine, however, rallied with a 55-yard scoring run by Cole Muder on only his third rush of the game, cutting the score to the final 34-28 with 2:41 remaining when Muder caught a 2-point conversion pass from sophomore quarterback Nate Kramme. But Nooksack's Daryk Heidt, playing on the "good hands" kickoff return team, snapped up Blaine's onside kick attempt and the Pioneers ran out the clock following Blaine's last timeout.
Kramme completed of 10 of 18 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns to Brett Allen, for 15 and 7 yards in the first half.
The Pioneers held Blaine senior Mario Gobbato, who came in with 5,402 yards as Whatcom County's career rushing leader, to 76 yards on 23 carries and one touchdown, a 5-yarder early in the fourth quarter for his 27th score of the season. Gobbato's longest run was 21 yards.
With Nooksack ahead 21-20, Rediger broke out of a crowd after catching a screen pass and turned it into a 71-yard touchdown with 10 minutes and 50 seconds remaining.
"Give Nooksack credit," said Dodd. "They're a good team and they've gotten better."
Blaine 0 14 0 14- 28
Nooksack Valley 7 14 0 13- 34
NV-Trey Handy 4 pass from Tanner Myhre (Ethan Vinup kick)
BLA-Brett Allen 15 pass from Nate Kramme (run failed)
NV-Myrhe 15 run (Vinup kick)
NV-Joey Scheffer 5 pass from Myhre (vinup kick)
BLA-Allen 7 pass from Kramme (Mario Gobbato run)
BLA-Gobbato 5 run (run failed)
NV-Bret Rediger 71 pass from Myhre (run failed)
NV-Scheffer 31 pass from Myhre (Vinup kick)
BLA-Cole Muder 55 run (Muder pass from Kramme)
First downs 16 23
Rushing Att-Yards 33-153 24-165
Comp-Att-Int 14-22-0 25-43-1
Passing yards 177 316
Penalties-yards 0-0 3-35
Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-0
RUSHING - Blaine: Mario Gobbato 23-76, Nate Kramme 6-14, Cole Muder 3-56, James Fakkema 1-7. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 18-142, Trey Handy 3-14, Levi Schram 2-6, Bret Rediger 1-3.
PASSING - Blaine: Nate Kramme 14-22-177-0. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 24-42-294-1, Joey Scheffer 1-1-22-0.
RECEIVING - Blaine: Isaiah Jackson 5-76, Brett Allen 4-62, Cole Muder 4-25, Kyle Weaver 1-14. Nooksack Valley: Joey Scheffer 8-123, Bret Rediger 4-95, Trey Handy 8-40, Curtis Handy 4-41, Levi Schram 1-17.