SEDRO-WOOLLEY - When Lynden's defense was on the field, all was right. There was no reason to worry. Even when Sedro-Woolley was driving into Lions' territory trailing by only two scores with six minutes to go, Lynden's sideline stayed calmed and relaxed.
Not surprisingly, like the Lions' defensive 11 did all evening, it gave the ball back to its offense.
The No. 1-ranked Lions put together a masterful team defensive performance, forcing three Sedro-Woolley fumbles during the Cubs first three possessions - four for the game - intercepted their Skagit County foe once and stopped Sedro short on four fourth-down attempts, equating to a 21-7 Class 2A Northwest Conference win Friday, Sept. 27, in Sedro-Woolley.
The Cubs only points came on a 75-yard kickoff return touchdown by Mason Elms right before halftime. This was the same Sedro-Woolley offense that hung a combined 104 points on its last two opponents.
"I think by them scoring 63 points against Squalicum, they definitely had our attention," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. "We knew that their backs and receivers ran really hard and broke a lot of tackles, so that was a very high priority this week."
Kramme praised his defensive staff for the job they did during the week, but he gave most credit to his players. And did they ever deserve it. Jaremy Martin, Trent Postma, Rudy Mendoza and the rest of Lynden's D made sound tackle after sound tackle, limiting the Cubs' ground attack to 121 yards. Sedro-Woolley entered Friday's contest averaging 263.3 rush yards.
The defensive unit more than made up for a Lynden offense that had its moments but sputtered at other times.
"I think last week we came out flat, and this week we came out with a bunch of intensity," said Martin, comparing this performance to last week's win against 1A NWC power Mount Baker. "We decided to play as a team, and everybody was rallying to the ball."
In fact, Kramme didn't witness a single missed tackle. He said he reiterates the importance of a strong defense during the start of each practice week. The Lions proved they got the message.
"When we start each week, we say defense first," Kramme said, "and we try to preach that to the kids. Sometimes that doesn't work, but we try to make defense a priority. We do because we figure if our defense plays well we have a chance to win, and that was the case tonight."
Lynden quarterback Lucas Petersen and the Lions' offense wasn't particularly sharp throughout. Lynden lost two fumbles and Petersen threw two interceptions, but the offense made drives when it needed to, leading to what Kramme billed "the biggest drive of the year so far" to open the second half.
Petersen ran for a 2-yard TD right before the break to give Lynden a 14-0 lead, but with less than 15 seconds to go until halftime, Elms snatched the game's momentum back with a highlight-reel-worthy right-to-left 75-yard kickoff return touchdown that cut the Lions lead to seven.
"It was a big mistake we made on kickoff," Kramme admitted. "Our kicker shouldn't have kicked it that deep. I don't know if the kids relaxed because they thought the half was over, but tip your hat to the Sedro-Woolley kickoff return team."
But Lynden's seven-play, 68-yard scoring drive to begin the third quarter instantly - given Lynden's defensive play - put the game out of reach.
Petersen, who finished the game 11 of 19 for 157 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, strung together a 28-yard pass to Cameron Wainwright, a 25-yard pass to Martin and a 12-yard pass to Scooter Hastings. Martin capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown reception on a quick out-route.
Neither Lynden nor Sedro-Woolley moved the ball much following Martin's touchdown. The Lions managed only five second-half first downs after moving the chains 11 times in the first half.
Sedro-Woolley had the ball on Lynden's 43 with less than six minutes left in the game, but on a fourth-and-3, Mendoza came up with a great solo tackle off the edge to seal the game.
"We got a little spoiled last year," Kramme said, "We didn't have to coach that many games. Now having these one-, two-score games, it's a little different for me, at least from last year, but they count the same as a 40-point win."
Lynden running back Trent Postma scored the Lions' first touchdown, a 1-yard plunge toward the beginning of the second quarter. The junior back finished with 94 yards on 16 carries. Wainwright led Lynden's receiving corps with 58 yards on three catches.
The win was the Lions 17th straight dating back to last year's season-opening loss to King's.
Lynden hosts Sehome next at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
Lynden 0 14 7 0- 21
Sedro-Woolley 0 7 0 0- 0
Lyn - Trent Postma 1 run (Alex Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Lucas Petersen 2 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
SW - Mason Elms 75 kick return (Francisco Tovar kick)
Lyn - Jaremy Martin 2 pass from Petersen (Otano-Guenther kick)
First downs 16 11
Rushing Att-Yards 30-136 34-121
Comp-Att-Int 11-21-2 10-24-1
Passing yards 157 78
Penalties-yards 3-15 8-55
Fumbles-lost 5-2 4-3
RUSHING - Lynden: Trent Postma 16-94, Lucas Petersen 8-27, Jaremy Martin 2-10, Sterling Somers 4-5. Sedro-Woolley: Carter Crosby 9-33, Shawn Kennedy 8-34, Clayton Johnson 7-22, Braden Blouin 4-8, Mason Elms 1-3, Jacob Farrell 1-8, Jacob Kennedy 1-5, Avery Rooks 2-5, Quinn Carpenter 1-3.
PASSING - Lynden: Lucas Petersen 11-19-2-157; Sterling Somers 0-2-0-0. Sedro-Woolley: Braden Blouin 10-24-1-78.
RECEIVING - Lynden: Cameron Wainwright 3-58, Jalani Phelps 3-42, Jaremy Martin 3-29, Scooter Hastings 2-28. Sedro-Woolley: Mason Elms 4-29, Carter Crosby 3-20, Anthony Cann 2-11, Clayton Johnson 1-18.
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.