TACOMA - Lynden center Bret DeGraaff and his fellow senior linemen made it a goal to be billed the best offensive line in the state by season's end.
They made a good argument against Tumwater.
DeGraaff, Marcus Fakkema, Caleb Newman, Casey Halbert and Matt Meyer helped Lynden amass 559 yards of total offense, gave up just two sacks and held interior defensive lineman and University of Washington signee Jamie Bryant in check.
"I'm a huge Cougar fan, so I had to step up to the challenge," DeGraaff joked. "He is a heck of a player but, I think it was the same thing, once we figured out his moves, we were able to neutralize him."
Bryant finished with only four tackles and two assists.
"We just did what we do every week - we got under their pads and pushed them back," Halbert said. "If we made a mistake or a bad play we put it behind us. That's what this line does a great job of doing, is looking ahead to the next play."
The Lions rushed for 158 yards, but Lynden's front five gave plenty of time for Josh Kraght to nearly set a 2A state title record with his 376 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
"I feel at the beginning, we had a rough start, but we work so good together out there, we made some adjustments and protected Josh," Fakkema said. "We have such a good chemistry. We are such good friends, we know how to work well with each other."
DeGraaff said he felt the Lions became the best offensive line in the state.
Vis and Kraght looking for a college football opportunity
After the way they performed in a 41-7 Class 2A state championship game victory over Tumwater on Saturday, Dec. 1, Curt Kramme is still surprised a college hasn't scooped up senior receiver Zach Vis or quarterback Josh Kraght yet.
All Vis did on Saturday was break the 2A title game receiving record with 271 yards and tie the touchdown catches record with three.
"At 6-foot-3, it's just a matter of getting the ball to him," Kraght said. "He is such an athlete; he goes up and gets it."
Vis said he has gotten some interest from the University of Montana and Humboldt State, though.
Kraght, who like Vis is a three-sport athlete, also is weighing his options.
Though he's not a prototypical size at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Kramme has repeatedly said the senior would excel for anybody that wants to give him a chance.
He again showed what he could do in his final high school game, throwing for 376 yards and four touchdowns.
Though he made the start and rushed for 25 yards on five carries, senior running back Luke Christianson missed most of the final three quarters with an injury.
"He separated a shoulder last week and didn't get to practice much," Kramme said. "We let him give it a try, but I think he was in a lot of pain."
Sophomore Trent Postma stepped in and rushed for 36 yards on six carries.
Learning their lesson
Lynden was involved in only one close decided by fewer than 27 points this season - a 42-39 loss to King's in Week 1.
But Kramme said that loss, which was the Lions' only setback, may have set the tone for the rest of the season.
"We were still settling in with some new defensive starters, and that may have been the best thing that could have happened to us," Kramme said. "I think it showed us that we were vulnerable. We came into the season expecting that we'd win them all, and it just didn't turn out that way."
Shine comes up with big plays once more
Last year Lynden's John Shine made arguably the biggest play of the game during the Lions' one-point win against Archbishop Murphy.
He recovered an onside kick to give the ball back to the Lions, who scored the game-winning touchdown on the ensuing possession.
Shine was at it again - this time against Tumwater.
He caught two passes for 61 yards, including a 45-yard reception to open the third quarter. The drive led to Lynden's fourth touchdown and put Lynden in front 34-7.
Shine also helped preserve Lynden's defensive shutout by intercepting a pass from Tumwater quarterback Jayden Croft in the end zone late in the third quarter.
The Lynden senior didn't have an answer for how he's able to make big plays on the largest stages.
"We just go out there and play as hard as we can," Shine said. "If you play hard, good things will happen."
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.