DEMING - The Lynden football team enjoys playing a bend-but-don't break style of defense.
And while the Lions never really broke defensively in the first half of their non-conference game at Mount Baker on Friday, Sept. 20, they didn't exactly get off the field, either. The Mountaineers ran twice as many offensive plays - 28 to 14 - to build a 10-point halftime lead.
"We didn't play a good defensive game in the first half, and that really showed," Lynden junior linebacker Trent Postma said. "They were able to execute and run the football really good. Give them credit, they have some really good backs, and they fought hard in the first half."
But Lynden owned the second half, as the top-ranked Lions held sixth-ranked Mount Baker to a field goal and allowed their offense, led by three second-half touchdowns from Postma, to get going to spur a 27-20 come-from-behind victory.
The win was the 16th straight by Lynden (3-0), dating back to a season-opening loss at King's last year, and this is one they can certainly be proud of, as the Lions had to show some mental fortitude to rebound after a rough first half.
"The first half wasn't going too well for us," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. "To come out and make the plays, really in all three phases - offense, defense, special teams - and to find a way to do it, I'm so proud of them. Our mantra with these guys is 'Find a way.' A one-point win is the same as a 40-point win. I'm really proud of my guys. Had we not won, I would have been just as proud, because the effort was high."
In that same tone, Mount Baker (2-1) obviously was just as pleased with its effort in pushing the two-time defending champs to the brink.
"I'm proud of the kids," Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. "We came to battle. We wanted to make sure we played the full 48 minutes. We didn't feel we did that last year (in a 55-14 loss at Lynden). Lynden is an outstanding football team. We knew it was going to be a battle, even when things went our way in the first half."
Things certainly did, as the Mountaineers out gained Lynden 155 to 65, including 123 to 5 on the ground.
Izaiha Schwinden, who rushed for 60 of his 80 yards in the first half, had 4-yard scoring runs in each of the first and second quarters, and Alex Tyska tacked on a 42-yard field goal to make it 17-7 at the half.
"At halftime, I thought we really gathered together, and we made some switches up on defense," Postma said. "Coaches talked to us and made some changes, and I thought we came out in the second half and were able to react to it."
It didn't take long for those adjustments to pay dividends, as Lynden forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half.
Two plays later, Postma got the Lions rolling offensively, when he took a short swing pass out of the backfield from quarterback Lucas Petersen, broke a tackle, made a nice cut and went up the right sideline for a 52-yard touchdown to make the score 17-14 with 9:01 left in the third quarter.
"I thought I was going to get tackled by the first guy, so I just wanted to fight for the first down, because first downs were huge at that point for us," Postma said. "I just kept fighting, and then I made that last cut on that guy and took it all the way. It was the most amazing feeling ever."
Mount Baker responded with its best drive of the second half, marching 40 yards in eight plays but stalled at the Lynden 12, and Tyska booted a 28-yard field goal to make it 20-14.
After stopping the Lions on their next drive, the Mountaineers made their first mistake of the game, when Petersen got the first of his two interceptions at the Lynden 40.
Petersen then hit Jalani Phelps for 16 yards and Trey Shagren for 12 before finding Scooter Hastings for 25 more to the Mount Baker 4. Two plays later Postma took it in to give Lynden its first lead of the game with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
"When we hit Jalani and then Scooter down the field, I knew we could do it," Postma said. "I just ran in there untouched, and it felt really good."
It was a feeling he duplicated 101/2 minutes later, when he scored again from 4 yards out on a drive highlighted by Phelps' 39-yard reception over the middle to make it 27-20.
"The way they played defense, they were daring us to throw it deep, and that's going to be a little herky jerky, so we kept telling our guys, 'Hang in there, and eventually we're going to get some,'" Kramme said. "Then Trent broke a tackle and scored, and we got a couple of big throws to Jalani and Scooter in the second half. When you play man and blitz, it works sometimes, but it leaves you exposed, and fortunately we were able to capitalize a couple of times in the second half."
Petersen, who locked up the game with his second interception with seven seconds remaining, finished with 274 passing yards and two TDs, including a 13-yard first-half scoring strike to Phelps, who had eight catches for 136 yards.
In his first start for Mount Baker, freshman Jed Schleimer rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries, while quarterback Andrew Zender passed for 84 yards
"Mount Baker did a great job," Kramme said. "It was a fine high school football game, and it could have gone either way. I tip my hat to Coach Lepper and his coaches and players, because they were obviously very well prepared and they played with a lot of heart and a lot of emotion. I congratulate them on a very well played ballgame."
Reach David Rasbach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2286.
Lynden 7 0 14 6- 27
Mount Baker 7 10 3 0- 20
MB - Izaiha Schwinden 4 run (Alex Tyska kick)
Lyn - Jalani Phelps 13 pass from Lucas Petersen (Alex Otano-Guenther kick)
MB - Schwinden 4 run (Tyska kick)
MB - Tyska 42 FG
Lyn - Trent Postma 52 pass from Petersen (Otano-Guenther kick)
MB - Tyska 28 FG
Lyn - Postma 4 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Postma 4 run (run failed)
First downs 16 14
Rushing Att-Yards 22-55 46-160
Comp-Att-Int 15-24-1 9-18-2
Passing yards 271 84
Penalties-yards 4-36 3-29
Fumbles-lost 2-1 1-0
RUSHING - Lynden: Trent Postma 8-22, Lucas Petersen 14-33. Mount Baker: Jed Schleimer 15-53, Izaiha Schwinden 19-80, Andrew Zender 6-15, Joey Walton 2-10, Liam Short 4-2.
PASSING - Lynden: Lucas Petersen 15-24-1-271. Mount Baker: Andrew Zender 9-18-2-84.
RECEIVING - Lynden: Jalani Phelps 8-136, Scooter Hastings 4-65, Trent Postma 2-58, Trey Shagren 1-12. Mount Baker: Hunter Gates 2-26, Seth Bass 4-47, Travis Lindsay 1-5, Izaiha Schwinden 2-6.
Reach DAVID RASBACH at email@example.com or call 715-2271.