BLAINE - The Blaine football team moved up its Week 2 border war against Lord Tweedsmuir to Thursday, Sept. 12, so coach Jay Dodd could attend his wife's induction into the Carroll College Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
Turns out Dodd didn't have to fly to Montana to see a couple of Hall of Fame-worthy performances.
Lord Tweedsmuir's Jamel Lyles rushed for 119 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 120 yards and another score and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a fourth, and the Panthers held off a furious Blaine rally when Dalton Dietrich blocked an extra point with 17 seconds left to play to preserve a 35-34 win.
"He's a very good football player," Dodd said of Lyles. "He's hard to tackle in space. He can run over you when he wants to, too. He's a heck of a player."
The Panthers needed every bit of Lyles' magic, though, as Blaine's Josiah Westbrook had an unforgettable game of his own.
Westbrook and quarterback Nathan Kramme hooked up nine times for 138 yards and five touchdowns.
That wasn't all for the 6-foot-1 sophomore, as Westbrook also forced a fumble that went through the end zone to save a touchdown on defense and recovered an onside kick to give Blaine a shot at the end of the game.
But he'd be the first to admit he'd trade it all for just one more point - two more would be even better.
"I'm disappointed," Westbrook said. "We fought hard, so I'm proud about that. We'll just need to pick it up in practice next week."
There's no doubt that the Borderites (0-2) fought hard, as it would have been easy for them to pack it in after the Panthers put them in a 35-21 hole with 2:55 to play, when defensive lineman Austin Thornton returned an interception 17 yards for a touchdown.
But Kramme and the Borderites responded with an 11-play 67-yard drive. The biggest problem was that it consumed 2:20 of the game clock, before Kramme found Westbrook on a 15-yard fade route for a touchdown to make it 35-28 with 28 seconds to play.
Kicker Kyle Sentkowski then bounced a perfect onside kick off the front line of the Tweedsmuir hands team.
"It just hit off one of the defender's hands and came right back to me and I caught it," Westbrook said.
After Westbrook drew a defensive pass interference penalty on the next play, he and Kramme hooked up for the fifth and final time from 32 yards on another fade pattern to the right corner of the end zone with 17 seconds left. It marked the seventh touchdown the pair has combined to score so far this season.
"Josiah is a heck of a wide receiver," Dodd said. "He has outstanding hand-eye coordination. He adjusts his body well in space when the ball is in the air. He and Nate have spent some time together throwing. It started in the spring, and it's carried over so far this fall."
Blaine appeared to tie the game when Peter Benne booted his kick through the uprights, but Blaine was flagged for illegal formation after having only 10 players on the field for the PAT.
The extra 5 yards turned out to be big, but not as big as Dietrich's right mitt, as he blocked the second attempt from in the middle of the line.
"I'm proud of our team," Dodd said. "They fought hard and never gave up. We scored and got an onside kick and scored again. I was very proud of our effort."
Despite the effort, Dodd said Blaine must continue to work on its defense, which gave up eight plays of 15 or more yards - six of them registered by Lyles.
"Our defense is a work in progress," Dodd said. "We had some trouble last week, as well. We're going to keep working at it and try to get better."
Blaine also hurt itself with four turnovers, including a fumble at the Tweedsmuir 1-yard line on the Borderites' first possession of the game. Two others came in Panthers territory.
Cole Muder surpassed 100 yards rushing for the second straight week for the Borderites, though, with 145 yards on 25 carries, while Kramme rushed for 69 yards and passed for 188.
Blaine next hosts Lakewood on Friday, Sept. 20.
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2286.
Lord Tweedsmuir 7 7 14 7- 35
Blaine 0 14 7 13- 34
LT - Jamel Lyles 1 run (Connor McKay kick)
Blaine - Josiah Westbrook 7 pass from Nathan Kramme (Peter Benne kick)
LT - Lyles 71 pass from McKay (McKay kick)
Blaine - Westbrook 30 pass from Kramme (Benne kick)
Blaine - Westbrook 20 pass from Kramme (Benne kick)
LT - Lyles 92 kickoff return (McKay kick)
LT - Lyles 65 run (McKay kick)
LT - Austin Thornton 17 interception return (McKay kick)
Blaine - Westbrook 15 pass from Kramme (Benne kick)
Blaine - Westbrook 32 pass from Kramme (kick blocked)
First downs 9 30
Rushing Att-Yards 31-202 48-273
Comp-Att-Int 4-9-0 16-33-3
Passing yards 127 188
Penalties-yards 6-38 7-42
Fumbles-lost 4-2 3-1
RUSHING - Lord Tweedsmuir: Brendan Kennedy 6-21, Jamel Lyles 16-119, Joe Carter 3-54, Connor McKay 6-8. Blaine: Cole Muder 25-145, Nathan Kramme 16-69, Brian Ferrer 6-44, Peter Benne 1-15.
PASSING - Lord Tweedsmuir: Connor McKay 4-9-0-127. Blaine: Nathan Kramme 16-33-3-188.
RECEIVING - Lord Tweedsmuir: Tyler Senay 1-7, Jamel Lyles 3-120. Blaine: Cody Gobbato 2-15, Josiah Westbrook 9-138, Cole Muder 4-27, Marcus Potts 1- 8.
The name of the Blaine kicker on the onside kick was corrected Sept. 17, 2013.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.