Since moving to Class 2A in 2006, the Lynden football team has won eight of nine games against schools from the Evergreen 2A Conference, including the Lions' 48-21 state semifinal victory over Capital on Friday, Nov. 23.
The lone loss?
Well, that came to Lynden's next opponent - Tumwater, which beat Lynden 21-10 in a 2010 first-round state playoff game at Civic Stadium. The Thunderbirds went on to claim the 2A state title that year, before Lynden won its fourth title in six years last year.
The two teams will meet again at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the 2A state championship game at the Tacoma Dome.
Both teams ride 12-game winning streaks into the game after each lost in the first week of the season - Lynden 42-39 at King's and Tumwater 42-21 at Shelton.
The Thunderbirds also have own a 35-28 double-overtime victory over Capital on Sept. 22 in league play.
"You can say we beat Capital by this much, and they beat them by that much, but none of it matters," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said in a phone interview. "What matters is how well we play on Saturday versus how well they play on Saturday."
Both teams played pretty well last week in the semifinals.
Tumwater beat Prosser 35-21 at Kennewick's Lampson Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 24.
The Thunderbirds' Wing-T offense piled up 313 yards rushing, led by 198 yards from Christian Cummings on 13 carries, while the defense forced five Mustangs turnovers in the game and allowed just one touchdown in the second half.
Lynden, meanwhile, piled up 575 yards of total offense in its big victory over Capital in a game that was nowhere near as close as it was expected to be.
Saturday's game will mark the third time Tumwater and Lynden have met in the state playoffs. The Lions won the first in the 2006 2A semifinals 20-10.
Tumwater will be playing in the championship game for the sixth time in school history, and it has won all five previous trips. In addition to winning the 2010 2A title, the Thunderbirds claimed the 1993 4A crown and the 3A championships in 1987, 1989 and 1990.
Lynden will be playing in its 10th championship game and seeks its seventh title. In addition to last year's win, the Lions won 2A championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and 1A crowns in 1980 and 1991.
Though Lynden has started the running clock in 10 of its 12 victories this year, their recent history in championship games suggests the Lions should expect a close one Saturday.
Their four championship games over the past six years have been decided by a combined total of 16 points, and two of them have come by a single point.
"None of that stuff matters anymore," Kramme said. "All that matters is coming ready to play on Saturday."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
CLASS 2A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
LYNDEN vs. TUMWATER
Time: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
Site: Tacoma Dome
Advance tickets: Available at Lynden High School main office between 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Tickets cost the same as they will at the Tacoma Dome - $15 for adults and $11 for students with ASB cards.
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
Class 4A: Skyline vs. Bellarmine Prep, 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Class 3A: Bellevue vs. Eastside Catholic, 7:30 p.m. Friday
Class 1A: Royal vs. Montesano, 10 a.m. Saturday
Class 2B: Morton-White Pass vs. Lind-Ritzville-Sprague, 4 p.m. Friday
Class 1B: Liberty Christian vs. Neah Bay, 4 p.m. Saturday
Since joining the Class 2A ranks in 2006, Lynden has won four state championships. A quick look at those four title games:
LYNDEN 14, CENTRALIA 10
After a scoreless first half, linebacker Luke Korthuis delivered a fiery speech in the locker room, and the Lions responded, scoring 14 unanswered points in the second half to come back for the victory. Quarterback Chris Bolt rushed for 103 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown for the Lions with 9:08 left to play. Running back Landon VandeHoef scored Lynden's other touchdown in the third quarter, and Dirk Dallas blocked a Centralia field goal. Lynden piled up 230 yards of total offense in the second half, while linebacker Taylor Creighton had two first-half interceptions to keep Lynden in the game. The state title was Lynden's first since it won 1A crowns in 1981 and 1990.
LYNDEN 35, PROSSER 34, 2OT
Lynden scored two touchdowns in the final two minutes of regulation to force overtime and then shut down a Prosser 2-point conversion attempt in the second overtime that would have won the game to shock the top-ranked Mustangs. After Kirby Moore reeled in his second touchdown to make it 21-6 with 2:22 left to play, the Lions got an 18-yard Ryan Seto touchdown catch, an onside kick recovery by Jace Baxter-Bowen, a 4-yard David Gaylord touchdown run and Jordan Hastings' 2-point conversion throw to tie things up. Then in the second OT, after Moore caught his third TD pass, Taylor Creighton's defensive pressure on the conversion attempt allowed Seto to bat the ball down for the victory.
LYNDEN 16, SPOKANE EAST VALLEY 6
Brett Bajema scored a pair of touchdowns and Lynden's defense came up with three turnovers and a safety as the Lions won back-to-back state championships for the first time in the program's history in a game that was a virtual blowout compared to their other recent championship games. But the game was close throughout, as Lynden clung to a 9-6 lead after the third quarter. But that's when Bajema took over, punishing the Eagles for 96 yards and a 2-yard touchdown in the final quarter to help put the game away. Nolan Gudde's interception at the Lynden 15 and Eric Conner's fumble recovery in the game's final three minutes sealed the deal for the Lions. Ryan Seto had five catches for 94 yards in the game.
LYNDEN 17, ARCHBISHOP MURPHY 16
Trailing by four points in the closing minutes of the game, Lynden elected to have Josh Kraght run out of the back of the end zone to take a safety. On the ensuing free kick, Santiago Lopez bounced a perfect onside attempt off the turf into the arms of teammate John Shine. That ignited what had been a relatively stagnant Lynden offense on a nine-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by Kyle Hanson's 11-yard game-winning touchdown with 1 minute, 48 seconds to play. Gabe Kaemingk then recorded a game-clinching sack with 12 seconds remaining, as Lynden capped off its first unbeaten season in the program's history. The Lions were actually out gained 274 to 185 in the game.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.