Lynden to open 2013 in Emerald City Kickoff Classic

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 12, 2013 

15 Baker-Lynden FOOT

Lynden's Jalani Phelps hauls in a pass as Lynden beat Mount Baker in football on Friday Sept. 14, 2012 in Lynden.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

Which is likely to have undergone greater remodeling in the fall of 2013 - the new Husky Stadium or the Lynden football team?

Lions fans will get to compare and decide for themselves on Sept. 7, when Lynden takes part in the 2013 Emerald City Kickoff Classic.

The Classic will be only the second event scheduled for Husky Stadium after the completion of the stadium's $250 million renovation. The University of Washington's Aug. 31 season opener against Boise State will be the first.

Like Husky Stadium, the Lions will be rebuilt from the ground up this year, after the team graduated one of Whatcom County's most storied senior classes. The Lions will look to replace 23 seniors off a team that won the program's fifth state title in seven years in 2012 and went 37-2 over the past three seasons. Included among those 23 are players that filled 19 of the 22 starting positions on offense and defense for Lynden in its 41-7 victory over Tumwater in the Class 2A state championship game in December.

"It won't be easy," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said of replacing the Class of 2013 following the win over Tumwater. "Those are some pretty special players we have to replace. But I can tell you this, when they put the Lynden uniform on next year, they'll expect to be successful."

The Lions are expected to return starting linebacker Jaremy Martin, kicker Alex Otano-Guenther, receiver Jalani Phelps and defensive lineman Trent Postma, who also showed special talents at running back when he started in place of the injured Luke Christianson last fall against Mount Baker.

The 2013 version of the Lynden football team will get a chance to do something that the 2012 squad couldn't do - beat King's in a season opener.

The Lions were forced to scramble last year, after a Canadian opponent originally scheduled to face Lynden in its opener pulled out. The Knights, who were ranked No. 1 in Class 1A throughout the season until an unexpected loss in the state quarterfinals, were added to the Lions' schedule just more than 24 hours before kickoff.

The result was a crazy 42-39 loss to high-powered King's, as Lynden's first-string defense surrendered more than half of the 77 points it allowed all season long.

Lynden bounced back nicely, though, winning 13 in a row and claiming a second straight 2A state title.

The 1 p.m. game between Lynden and King's will mark the Lions' second appearance in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic in five seasons.

They lost 34-20 to Archbishop Murphy in the 2009 season-opener at then Qwest Field, but also rebounded nicely that year to win 13 straight, including one over the Wildcats in the state semifinals, on their way to a state title.

The Kickoff Classic was held at Century Link/Qwest Field for the first nine years of the event, but was moved to Cheney in 2012 because of a scheduling conflict.

In addition to the two-time defending Class 2A state champions, the Classic will be highlighted by a 7 p.m. game between defending 4A state champion Skyline and defending 3A state champion Bellevue. The other two games will pit Seattle Prep against Roosevelt at 10 a.m. and Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) against Bothell at 4 p.m.

EMERALD CITY KICKOFF CLASSIC

When: Sept. 7

Site: Husky Stadium, Seattle

Tickets: $15 adults, $10 students and senior citizens

SCHEDULE

• Seattle Prep vs. Roosevelt, 10 a.m.

• King's vs. Lynden, 1 p.m.

• Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) vs. Bothell, 4 p.m.

• Skyline vs. Bellevue, 7 p.m.

Reach David Rasbach at 360-715-2271 or david.rasbach@bellinghamherald.com .

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