PREP FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Despite new offense, Blaine gets defensive in 2013

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDSeptember 5, 2013 

FB TAB Lynden Martin

Blaine's Cole Muder on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 in Bellingham.

ANDY BRONSON — THE BELLINGHAM HERALD Buy Photo

As much time and effort as the Blaine football team has focused on installing a new spread offense this summer, there's still a lot of uncertainty around it.

When will the Borderites use it? How will they mix it in with the old pro-style they expect still will be a major part of what they do?

"We'll see where it goes," coach Jay Dodd said. "We've been working on installing it a lot in June and in the spring and so far in practice this year. When we do things like we used to do, we've been more effective doing that. So chances are we're going to continue doing that. We're still finding the right mix of wide receivers and backs and things like that, but we're getting there. It's a new wrinkle for us."

But the truth of the matter is the new offense isn't Blaine's primary concern this year.

"We've really focused on our defense," Dodd said. "We've got a lot of new players on defense. We're trying to put a lot of energy and enthusiasm on defense. ... We're trying to keep things as simple as we can so we can just play as hard as we can."

The main reason for that focus is that only one player - safety Cole Muder - returns in Blaine's starting 11.

And what Blaine lacks in starting experience, it won't make up for in size.

"We're tiny," Dodd said. "We're very small. The average of our front seven is going to be 155 pounds per man. So we need to get as much effort out of everyone as we can, and we think we've got the right guys to do that. ... As long as you've got a good motor on defense, you'll be fine."

Zane Batchelor, Kurtis Sanders, Jose Contreras and Alberto Morales should make a good defensive front, Dodd said. Andrey Baydak and Jon Stewart saw some playing time last year, and they'll be joined by Kaden Foster at linebacker. Muder likely will be joined at safety by Nathan Kramme, while Brian Ferrer, Serge Shevchenko and Josiah Westbrook are the front runners at corner.

The Borderites do have two pieces of their offensive line back in Mike Antczak and Jon Fakkema. They'll be joined by Tanner Anthony at center, Adam McShane and Baydak.

"We feel the offensive line is coming along," Dodd said. "They've all kind of been waiting their turn. They've worked hard in the weight room all summer."

Another guy who has put in the work is Kramme, who has started at quarterback since the middle of his freshman year. Despite that, he has not gotten a chance to show what he can do throwing the ball much, but that figures to change the more Blaine uses the spread offense this year.

Jordan Antonson, Cody Gobbato, Steven Crafts, Josh Fakkema and Westbrook hope to emerge at receiver in the new offense, while Muder, who also will split out, has the unenviable task of trying to replace two-time 2,500-plus yard rusher Mario Gobbato in the backfield.

"Mario is obviously a legend around here and did great things for us over his career, but Cole's a heck of a running back, too," Dodd said.

COACH'S PERSPECTIVE

"Offense gets all the writeups, but really our defense - how we can stop the run; how we get after the quarterback; can we defend the pass; can our defense show up to play week after week? - that and special teams is what is going to decide how we do this year." - Blaine coach Jay Dodd

KEYS TO THE SEASON

1. Don't rush to change

Blaine's pro-style offense is effective and the players know how to run it. It may take some time before the Borderites feel comfortable in the spread.

2. High-energy defense

Blaine returns only one defensive starter and will be much smaller than the unit that held opponents to 4.7 yards per carry last year. They must turn up the motor.

3. Time to be special

The Borderites have focused a lot of energy on special teams to improve field position. Three new kickers, including two from the soccer team, will help.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Cole Muder, Senior RB/DB

Blaine's lone returning starter on defense also gets the task of following in a legend's footsteps at running back. He proved worthy with 348 yards last year.

Mike Antczak, Senior OL/DL

As one of Blaine's bigger and more experienced bodies up front, the Borderites will rely heavily on him to establish a presence at the line of scrimmage.

Nathan Kramme, Junior QB/DB

At some point this season, he'll get a chance to show exactly what he can do throwing the ball. He's anxiously awaiting that opportunity to let it fly.

Zane Batchelor, Senior RB/DL

Batchelor already has impressed on what figures to be an undersized, but high-motor group up front. The Borderites count on the entire line to step up.

2013 SCHEDULE

Sept. 6 at Ferndale 7 p.m.

Sept. 12 Lord Tweedsmuir (B.C.) 7 p.m.

Sept. 20 Lakewood 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Bellingham 7 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Lynden Christian* 7 p.m.

Oct. 11 Friday Harbor* 6 p.m.

Oct. 18 Meridian* 7 p.m.

Oct. 25 at Mount Baker* 7 p.m.

Oct. 31 Nooksack Valley* 7 p.m.

*NWC 1A game

2012 RESULTS

7-4, 3-2 NWC 1A

Aug. 31 New Westminster (B.C.) W 50-16

Sept. 7 Terry Fox (B.C.) W 44-21

Sept. 14 at Lakewood L 22-20

Sept. 21 at Bellingham (at Civic Stadium) W 36-28

Sept. 28 Lynden Christian* W 30-0

Oct. 5 at Friday Harbor* W 26-19

Oct. 12 Meridian* W 34-27

Oct. 19 Mount Baker* L 38-14

Oct. 26 at Nooksack Valley* L 34-28

CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

Oct. 30 Meridian (half game) L 15-14

NON-PLAYOFF CROSSOVER

Nov. 2 at Cedar Park Christian W 50-20

*NWC 1A game

2012 STATISTICAL LEADERS

RUSHING

Player Att. Yards Avg. TD

Mario Gobbato 339 2,821 8.3 36

Cole Muder* 43 348 8.1 3

Nate Kramme* 41 131 3.2 2

PASSING

Player Cmp. Att. Yards TD Int.

Nate Kramme* 61 122 809 8 7

RECEIVING Rec. Yards Avg. TD

Brett Allen 22 305 13.9 6

Isaiah Jackson 21 286 13.6 0

Cole Muder* 11 122 11.1 0

*Returning player

2013 ROSTER

No. Player Yr. Pos.

1 Josiah Westbrook So. WR/DB

2 Steven Crafts Jr. WR/DB

3 Rudy Nolasco Jr. RB/LB

4 Matt Craig Jr. RB/DB

5 Jordan Antonson Sr. WR/DB

6 Jonathan Starcer So. WR/DB

8 Marcus Potts So. QB/LB

9 Zane Batchelor Sr. RB/DL

11 Cody Gobbato Jr. WR/DB

12 Brian Ferrer Sr. RB/DB

13 Nathan Kramme Jr. QB/DB

14 Austin Trahan Jr. WR/DB

15 Peter Benne Sr. K/P

16 Serge Shevchenko Sr. WR/DB

17 Kevin Sell Jr. QB/DB

18 Carl DE Belen Jr. WR/DB

21 Cole Muder Sr. RB/DB

22 Matt Bowyer So. RB/DB

23 Kristian Ebenal Jr. WR/DB

25 Anthony Frey So. WR/DB

27 Brendan Schmidt Jr. K/P

28 Cody Rowley Sr. TE/DE

29 Riley Fritsch Fr. RB/DB

30 Jose Contreras Sr. OL/DL

31 Joe Leeking Sr. RB/LB

32 Jon Anderson So. WR/DB

33 Caleb Frey So. WR/DB

34 Josh Fakkema So. TE/DE

35 Kyle Sentkowski Fr. K/P

40 Jon Stewart Sr. OL/LB

46 Kaden Foster Jr. WR/LB

51 Matt Kelly Jr. OL/DE

52 Jon Fakkema Jr. OL/DE

53 Kurtis Sanders Jr. OL/DL

54 Armando Moser So. OL/DL

55 Tim Samoylovich Jr. OL/DL

56 Andrey Baydak Sr. OL/DE

57 Kellen MceIwain So. OL/DL

58 Alberto Morales Sr. OL/DL

60 Logan Brittain So. OL/LB

65 Andres Araica So. OL/DL

67 Joey Sawyer Jr. OL/DL

68 Tanner Anthony Sr. OL/LB

70 Cajun Lankford Jr. OL/LB

73 Sam Ramirez So. OL/DL

74 Shaq Woods So. OL/DL

75 Mike Antczak Sr. OL/DL

77 Adam McShane Jr. OL/DL

82 Preston Bellville So. WR/DB

83 Kendall Schroeder So. WR/LB

84 Tristan Soto So. WR/LB

85 Cooper Lariviere Jr. TE/DE

88 Anthony Ball Fr. WR/DB

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

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