BLAINE - When a team commits 14 penalties, it doesn't often win, but Blaine overcame its mental mistakes to defeat Bellingham 45-8 on Friday, Sept. 27, at Blaine.
On the fourth play of the game for Bellingham, Cason Plancich fumbled the ball and the Borderites recovered on the Bellingham 16-yard line. Blaine only needed one play to score from there, as Cole Muder scampered in for the touchdown to give the Borderites the early lead.
Blaine's game plan was simple after that: Give the ball to Muder and let him work. Muder rushed for 177 yards on 15 carries in the first half, adding two more touchdowns to his name to give him three on the day. He finished with 214 yards on 18 carries.
"I just focused on making sharper cuts and following my blockers," Muder said. "They were great tonight."
The Borderites' freshmen got in on the action too when Riley Fritsch ran in for the six-yard score in the fourth quarter with 7:49 left in the game.
The defensive side of the ball was just as successful for the Borderites. They held Bellingham to only 157 yards, while the offensive side of the ball for Blaine tallied 554.
"We worked on getting simpler on defense," Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. "Just understanding what gap you have and being aggressive on that gap. When the ball carrier goes through, it's your job to make the tackle."
The Blaine defense also put six points on the board when Joe Leeking picked off Bellingham quarterback Eric Thompson and returned it 30 yards for the touchdown with 3:56 left in the third quarter. The extra point put the Borderites up 38-0.
It was a rough game for Thompson, as he only connected on six of his passes for 107 yards.
The lone bright spot for Bellingham was Thompson's 55-yard pass to the streaking Kailen Hayes for a touchdown with only 3:45 left in the fourth quarter. The pass was a perfect arc over all the defenders and Hayes found himself all alone with only 10 more yards to the end zone.
Bellingham coach Steve Wilson was visibly frustrated with loss. His team now stands at 0-4 on the year. The Red Raiders will look for their first win when they play Sedro-Wooley on Oct. 4.
"They were more aggressive than us tonight," Wilson said. He added that his team needs to work on its fundamentals if it wants to start winning games.
Blaine picked up its first win of the season and moved to 1-3. The Borderites now enter 1A Northwest Conference play, which opens with Lynden Christian on Oct. 4.
Bellingham 0 0 0 8 -8
Blaine 10 21 7 7 -45
Blaine - Cole Muder 16 run (Peter Benne kick)
Blaine - Benne 29 FG
Blaine - Nathan Kramme 29 run (Benne kick)
Blaine - Muder 5 run (Benne kick)
Blaine - Muder 1 run (Benne kick)
Blaine - Joe Leeking 30 Int return (Benne kick)
Blaine - Riley Fritsch 6 run (Benne kick)
Bel - Kailen Hayes 55 pass from Eric Thompson (Hayes pass from Thompson)
First downs 8 27
Rushing Att-Yards 29-50 40-393
Comp-Att-Int 6-18-1 9-14-1
Passing yards 107 161
Penalties-yards 8-53 14-106
Fumbles-lost 3-2 3-1
RUSHING - Bellingham: Tanner Aliff 10-25, Cason Plancich 9-(-1), Eric Thompson 6-23, Kailen Hayes 1-1, Tristan Hurley 1-0, Jacob Thompson 1-0, Chris Thompson 1-2. Blaine: Cole Muder 18-214, Nathan Kramme 4-66, Rudy Nolasco 9-69, Riley Fritsch 7-38, Matt Craig 2-6.
PASSING - Bellingham: Eric Thomspon 6-18-1-107. Blaine: Nathan Kramme 9-14-1-161.
RECEIVING - Bellingham: Tanner Aliff 1-4, Kailen Hayes 4-101, Tristan Hurley 1-2. Blaine: Josiah Westbrook 3-86, Rudy Nolasco 4-46, Jordan Antonson 1-20, Josh Fakkema 1-9.