From the stands, they probably won't be noticed unless one of them runs past you on the way up to take his seat in the coaches' box at the Tacoma Dome shortly before kickoff and the start of the second half.
But make no doubt, Lynden's assistant coaching staff could end up having a big impact on whether or not the Lions are able to beat Tumwater in the Class 2A State Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 1.
It only takes looking back one year to the state title game to see just how big an impact the assistants can have on a game.
With Lynden trailing Archbishop Murphy by four points and facing a fourth-and-16 from its own 3, the Lions elected to have Josh Kraght run out of the back of the end zone for a safety, making the score 16-10 with 4:13 left in the game.
"One of our freshman coaches, Jim Taubenheim, actually deserves credit for coming up with that idea," Lynden head coach Curt Kramme said after the game. "Somebody brought it to my attention that taking the safety would only put us down by 6. I give him credit for coming up with the idea and having the confidence to talk about it with somebody."
But that safety might have been meaningless if not for another idea from another member of Lynden's coaching staff.
"At first, everyone's mindset was should we take the safety or not," Lynden defensive coordinator Blake VanDalen said in a phone interview. "Once we decided we were, my mind right away went to we should try an onside kick. I said, 'Coach, they're only going to need one first down and this thing will be over. It doesn't matter whether they get it at their 30 or our 30. Their mindset is going to be getting that one first down.' I never would have thought about taking the safety, and I think it was a great idea.
"That's the type of environment we have with Coach Kramme. All of us feel free to say what we are thinking and not feel like we're jumping out of line."
John Shine ended up recovering the onside kick at the 35, the Lions drove 54 yards in eight plays, before Kyle Hanson capped it off with an 11-yard touchdown run and Lynden ultimately won 17-16 to claim its fourth 2A title in six years and its sixth crown overall.
Another suggestion by VanDalen in last week's semifinal helped put Lynden in position to win a seventh.
Facing fourth-and-10 from the Capital 40 late in the first quarter, VanDalen called down from the box that he thought Lynden should go for it.
"We saw that Josh was having a special day, and it seemed like he could have converted everything," VanDalen said. "I thought our defense was playing well, so I said, 'Why not go for it?'"
Kramme, who had already sent the punt team onto the field, called a timeout to discuss, and sent the offense back out to go for it.
"Ultimately, I have the final call, but I encourage those guys to always be thinking," Kramme said in a phone interview. "Somebody put a bug in my ear, and I liked what I heard."
He ended up liking what he saw, as well.
Lynden converted with a 33-yard pass from Kraght to Jalani Phelps, and one play later scored its second touchdown of the game on its way to a 48-21 victory.
Who says that assistant coaches need to live behind the scenes?
"It's really been neat the last few years the way the staff has been molded," Lynden offensive line coach Blake Witman said in a phone interview. "We all know our roles. We each have responsibilities on game day. Those suggestions, we all feel comfortable throwing things like that out. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. Curt is so good at what he does amidst all the play calling and overseeing everything. He can sift through suggestions and decide to pull the trigger or let it slide. One of the things that amazes me about him is his ability to process things like that as the game is going on."
Since he took over the program in 1991, Kramme's coaching staff has undergone its share of changes.
Where he once relied most heavily on longtime assistants Ed Bomber and Pat Murphy, Kramme now depends on VanDalen, who played football at Lynden two years before Kramme took over, and Witman, who actually played for Kramme during the 1998 and '99 seasons, as well as Terry Kaemingk, Scott Noteboom, Hank Roorda, Eric Spady, Greg Terpstra, Rob VanDiest and Taubenheim.
"It's pretty special to have a number of guys that used to play for me and watching them make that transition from player to coach," Kramme said. "They've done a real good job for me."
And make no doubt, they work pretty close together.
During the season, Witman, who is the worship pastor at Faith Community Church in Lynden, and VanDalen, who teaches math and leadership at Lynden, estimated they spend 20-30 hours per week working side-by-side with Kramme and each other.
In a normal week, it starts on Saturdays by breaking down the game film for an upcoming opponent. On Sundays, VanDalen and Kramme get together in the morning to start coming up with a game plan, and Witman joins them in the afternoon as soon as he's done with his pastoral duties, and they fine tune things. After a dinner break, they usually reconvene with other members of the staff to grade the Lions' game film and work out a plan for the scout teams for the week ahead in practice.
Then there's the practice and film time with the players after school during the week, a little more film review after school on game night and, of course, the game on Friday night.
Then it's right back to it on Saturday preparing for the next week.
"Coach VanDalen and I always joke that we say goodbye to our wives on Aug. 15 and hello to each other again," Witman said. "During the season, we probably see more of each other than we do of our families. We're all very fortunate that we have awesome wives who understand what we are trying to do."
Fortunately, the staff enjoys each other's company during the long hours and has a lot of fun working with each other.
"It'd be pretty tough if we didn't get along and work well with each other," VanDalen said. "Yes, it's a lot of long hours together, but we have a lot of fun. We're always joking around. ... We call ourselves the Blake and Blake show, and I give Coach Kramme a lot of credit for have the patience to put up with us. Poor Curt has to put up with all our stupid jokes and our dorky Facebook posts. He just shakes his head, but what you may not know is what a great sense of humor he has, as well. It's fun working with those guys."
VanDalen joined the staff in 1997 as a volunteer assistant. He has since worked a variety of roles on the staff, but it wasn't until 2009 while he was on his way to Ethiopia to adopt a child that he received a phone call from Kramme asking him to move into his current position as defensive coordinator.
VanDalen accepted, but things didn't go so hot from the start, as he faced an Archbishop Murphy team hungry to get a little revenge after a state semifinal loss the season before.
"I remember that first game we were at Qwest Field, and I felt like I was 30 miles away up in the booth, and we were just getting rocked," said VanDalen, who's also an assistant with the boys' basketball team. "You could tell Archbishop was so prepared for us, and we had already lost four defensive starters. I remember hearing the announcers next door saying that they didn't know what was different about Lynden's defense, but it just didn't look the same, and I remember thinking, 'Oh Lord, what did I get myself into?'"
Things turned out all right, though, as Lynden went on to win the state title that season and another one last year, and the first-team defense has been downright stingy this year, allowing only 60 points all season, according to VanDalen - 39 to King's in Week 1, 14 to Ferndale and seven last week to Capital at the start of the fourth quarter.
Witman joined the staff as a volunteer assistant in 2006 and now serves as the Lions' offensive line coach, though like VanDalen, he played receiver when he wore the green and gold.
"I was so small, they wouldn't let me anywhere near the trenches," Witman joked. "There was definitely an adjustment period, but I think you learn how to coach kids, and that's the most important thing."
Now that they've learned from an expert like Kramme how to do just that, Witman and VanDalen said they are perfectly content working to continue working on the Lynden staff and neither said they had any aspirations to become head coaches any time soon.
"I'm a Lynden guy, and I want to be a Lynden guy the rest of my life," VanDalen said. "I love who I work with, and I love what I do."
Both said they're perfectly happy to be the unseen voices on the headphones in the booth and to get their opportunities to work with Lynden's student athletes.
"I played for Coach Kramme in high school, and I remember the positive effect it had on me," Witman said. "To be able to give back to the students of this community and to Lynden High School was my original intention in becoming a coach. To be able to work with and support Coach Kramme is an absolute blessing. He does so much for the kids that come through this community. Yes, it's about football and winning, and we have a lot of fun together, but once you get to know Coach Kramme you see his intention is to help the young men in this program grow up and become strong citizens. It's about much more than football. It's about having a positive influence on them."
And if you can influence a couple of wins along the way with a couple of ideas from the coach's box, that's not such a bad thing, either.
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
BEHIND THE SCENES FOR THE LIONS
Curt Kramme's coaching staff for the Lynden football team:
Terry Kaemingk C team coach
Scott Noteboom Defensive line, junior varsity coach
Hank Roorda Volunteer assistant for the C team
Eric Spady Volunteer assistant for the C team, videographer
Jim Taubenheim Assistant with the C team
Greg Terpstra Volunteer assistant for the varsity and junior varsity
Blake VanDalen Defensive coordinator, inside linebackers, receivers
Rob VanDiest Junior varsity coach, defensive ends
Blake Witman Offensive line
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.