LYNDEN - The 24 seniors on the Lynden football team's roster gathered one last time under the lights on Friday, Nov. 2, at Rollie DeKoster Field for a senior picture.
The biggest discussion during that time - whether to smile or not for the photo.
It was about the only time this group of seniors couldn't agree on what to do on a football field.
For the record, they definitely should have been smiling after they thumped Sultan 47-28 in a Class 2A District 1/2 Playoff game that was nowhere near as close as the score would indicate. Senior Luke Christianson scored five touchdowns and rushed for 151 yards in the first half, and a running clock ran throughout the second half.
"It feels really good," senior offensive lineman/defensive end Matt Meyer said. "It's always good to win, especially in a playoff game like this."
With the win, the Lions (9-1) earned a seventh-straight trip to the Class 2A State Playoffs as they try to defend their state title. With Lakewood's win over Sedro-Woolley, Lynden receives the No. 2 seed out of the district and will host Southwest District No. 2 seed Mark Morris likely on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Civic Stadium.
The win also assures the Lions' senior class, many of whom started as sophomores, a perfect record in their 17 games on their home field over the past three years.
"I'd say they made quite a statement," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said.
And it didn't take them long to make that statement, either.
Christianson rushed for four first-quarter scores on Lynden's first four possessions of the game from 1, 2, 9 and 58 yards out.
"It's a lot of fun to block for guys like Luke and Josh (Kraght)," Meyer said. "Those guys always give us credit, but we have to give it back to them. They're two of the smartest backs I've ever blocked for. They just know how to find the holes that we open for them."
While Christianson and the Lynden offense were nearly unstoppable, their defense hardly gave an inch.
In the first quarter alone, Lynden had a 226 to 13 advantage in total yardage and a 10-0 edge in first downs over the Turks.
"We just did what we always do on defense," Meyer said. "If we focus on reading our keys, we can be pretty good defensively. When we don't read our keys, that's when we can get in trouble."
It wasn't until after Cameron Wainwright's 1-yard TD sneak that Sultan picked up its initial first down of the game 3 minutes, 3 seconds into the second quarter on Jay Leverett's 11-yard run.
In fact, the Turks picked up two first downs on the drive, as backup quarterback Deion Bonilla hit Bubba Branham for 41 yards to the Lynden 10.
But even that ended well for the Lions, as the defense held and forced a 27-yard field-goal attempt by Adrian Cayetano, that Zach Vis blocked. Christianson scooped up the ball on the run at the 33 and took it 67 yards for his fifth touchdown of the night, making to 41-0.
By that point, Kramme was starting to rotate his reserves in on both sides of the ball.
Before the half was over, Trent Postma added a 3-yard run, making the halftime score 47-0.
Despite the running clock in the second half, Sultan got a pair of third-quarter touchdowns from Leverett on an 8-yard pass from Bonilla and a 54-yard run. Taylor Comfort returned an interception 23 yards for a TD in the fourth, and Bryce MacDicken capped off the night with a 1-yard plunge.
It was enough that Kramme actually had to bring his starters back in for half of a series to stem the tide, and Kraght responded by ripping off a 42-yard run to finish with 65 yards rushing on two carries to go along with his 6-for-6 passing performance for 52 yards.
Christianson also added 3 more yards to finish with 154.
"Sultan has some pretty talented varsity players, and I think they showed a lot of pride in the second half," Kramme said. "I give them credit for playing hard until the end. I hated that I had to bring our starters back in, but I like that they came out and stayed crisp for us."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
Sultan 0 0 14 14- 28
Lynden 27 20 0 0- 47
Lyn - Luke Christianson 1 run (kick failed)
Lyn - Christianson 2 run (Alex Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Christianson 9 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Christianson 58 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Cameron Wainwright 1 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Christianson 67 blocked FG return (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Trent Postma 3 run (run failed)
Sul - Jay Leverett 8 pass from Deion Bonilla (Adrian Cayetano kick)
Sul - Leverett 54 run (Cayetano kick)
Sul - Taylor Comfort 23 interception return (Cayetano kick)
Sul - Bryce MacDicken 1 run (Cayetano kick)
First downs 13 15
Rushing Att-Yards 30-160 26-233
Comp-Att-Int 11-20-1 7-12-1
Passing yards 149 56
Penalties-yards 5-25 5-50
Fumbles-lost 2-0 4-0
RUSHING - Sultan: James Kern 7-19, Bryce MacDicken 12-23, Antonio Rivas 4-15, Jay Leverett 7-103. Lynden: Luke Christianson 11-154, Josh Kraght 2-65, Cameron Wainwright 9-6, Trent Postma 2-7, Ryan Mouat 2-1.
PASSING - Sultan: Antonio Rivas 0-3-0-0, Deion Bonilla 11-17-1-149. Lynden: Josh Kraght 6-6-0-52, Cameron Wainwright 1-6-1-4.
RECEIVING - Sultan: Bubba Branham 4-57, Jay Leverett 3-34, Cooper Beucherie 1-13, James Kern 1-11, Steven Branham 2-34. Lynden: Dak Shagren 3-22, John Shine, 2-21, Zach Vis 1-3, Luke Christianson 1-10.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.