Only five high school running backs in state history have ever surpassed 2,600 yards rushing in a single season. Blaine's Mario Gobbato has done it twice - the only player to do so.
After accomplishing the feat for the second straight year, the senior not surprisingly was selected the All-Northwest Conference 1A Most Outstanding Player by the conference's coaches.
A year after falling just short of the state's single-season rushing record with 2,669 yards as a junior, Gobbato upped his total to 2,821, if you count the 160 yards he compiled in the Borderites' tiebreaker wins over Nooksack Valley and Meridian (18 yards combined) and the 1A Northwest District mini playoff loss to Meridian (142 yards).
Unfortunately for Blaine fans, gridironbeez.com, which keeps the most complete list of unofficial stats in the state, recognizes only full games, meaning Gobbato was only given credit for 2,661 yards - 113 yards short of the 2,774 yards Capital's Kai Van Sickle rushed for this year, which gridironbeez.com now lists as the state single-season record.
Whether you want to recognize Gobbato's season tally as a record or not, there's no disputing he had two of the best seasons anyone has ever had in the state. Because of that, the NWC 1A coaches recognized it by selecting him the Most Outstanding Player of the Year.
"Mario is a special back, but the thing that makes him extraordinary is what a great teammate he is," Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. "He cares so much more about his teammates and helping his team win than he does about any of these statistics."
Not surprisingly, Gobbato also was a first-team selection at running back, along with Mount Baker's Jake Schleimer (1,779 yards, 26 touchdowns) and Meridian's Junior Castro (671 yards, two touchdowns).
Schleimer, who helped the Mountaineers reach the Class 1A state semifinals for the first time in school history, was one of nine first-team selections on both sides of the ball, joining Mount Baker's Tyrel Cronk (offensive line/linebacker), Dalton Munsell (tight end/defensive line) and Zan Roman (receiver/defensive back), Meridian's Spencer Blackburn (offensive/defensive line) and Relijah McMillen (receiver/defensive back), Nooksack Valley's Matt Aure (offensive/defensive line) and Trey Handy (receiver/defensive back) and Blaine's James Fakkema (offensive/defensive line).
The All-NWC 1A offensive line included Cronk, Mount Baker's Jake Larsen, Aure, Blaine's Palmer Sandel, Fakkema, Friday Harbor's Nelson Wynn and Blackburn, while Munsell was the tight end.
Roman (388 yards, three TDs), Handy (669 yards, 11 TDs) and McMillen (667 yards, 11 TDs) were the All-NWC 1A receivers, while Meridian's Max McGuinn (1,841 yards, 20 TDs) was selected the quarterback.
Up front on defense were Munsell, Mount Baker's Matt Scoles, Aure, Fakkema and Blackburn.
Cronk, Schleimer, Blaine's Caleb Johnson, Friday Harbor Nathan Steenkolk and Meridian's Neal Tilbury were selected the linebackers, while Roman, Handy, Lynden Christian's Levi Vander Yacht, Friday Harbor's Donald Galt and McMillan filled out the defensive backfield.
Mount Baker's Edgar Zavala was chosen the All-NWC 1A kicker, while Friday Harbor's Ryan Allen was the punter.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
ALL-NORTHWEST CONFERENCE 1A TEAM
Selected by conference's coaches
Most Outstanding Player: Mario Gobbato Blaine
Player Pos. Yr. School
Matt Aure OL Sr. Nooksack Valley
Spencer Blackburn OL Jr. Meridian
Junior Castro RB Sr. Meridian
Tyrel Cronk OL Sr. Mount Baker
James Fakkema OL Sr. Blaine
Mario Gobbato RB Sr. Blaine
Trey Handy WR Sr. Nooksack Valley
Jake Larsen OL Sr. Mount Baker
Max McGuinn QB Sr. Meridian
Relijah McMillen WR Sr. Meridian
Dalton Munsell TE Sr. Mount Baker
Zan Roman WR Sr. Mount Baker
Palmer Sandel OL Sr. Blaine
Jake Schleimer RB Sr. Mount Baker
Nelson Wynn OL Jr. Friday Harbor
Player Pos. Yr. School
Matt Aure DL Sr. Nooksack Valley
Spencer Blackburn DL Jr. Meridian
Tyrel Cronk LB Sr. Mount Baker
James Fakkema DL Sr. Blaine
Donald Galt DB Sr. Friday Harbor
Trey Handy DB Sr. Nooksack Valley
Caleb Johnson LB Sr. Blaine
Relijah McMillen DB Sr. Meridian
Dalton Munsell DL Sr. Mount Baker
Zan Roman DB Sr. Mount Baker
Matt Scoles DL Sr. Mount Baker
Jake Schleimer LB Sr. Mount Baker
Nathan Steenkolk LB Jr. Friday Harbor
Neal Tilbury LB Sr. Meridian
Levi Vander Yacht DB Sr. Lynden Christian
Player Pos. Yr. School
Ryan Allen P Sr. Friday Harbor
Edgar Zavala K Sr. Mount Baker
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.