Mount Baker overcomes fumbles to beat Nooksack Valley

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 5, 2013 

DEMING - Andrew Zender scored five touchdowns as Mount Baker football defeated Nooksack Valley 42-21 on Friday, Oct. 4, at Nooksack Valley in a Northwest Conference Class 2A matchup. The Mountaineers had to overcome four lost fumbles to pull off the win.

Zender, Mount Baker's quarterback, was 6 of 10 for 129 yards passing and three touchdowns. He also rushed 17 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Midway through the fourth quarter Mount Baker was ahead 28-21, with Nooksack Valley driving down the field. Tanner Myhre fired off a pass to William Kingma for what looked like a 5-yard gain. As Kingma was being pulled down, Mount Baker's Izaiha Schwinden snatched the ball out of his hands and headed down the field, taking the ball from the Pioneers' 44 to their 16.

A few plays later Zender found Travis Lindsay for a 19-yard touchdown pass to seal the Mountaineers' win.

"(Nooksack Valley) moved the ball well all night," Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. "(Schwinden's strip) was just a good football play."

Tanner Myhre led the Pioneers with 73 yards rushing on 20 attempts and 236 yards on 28 of 38 passing. He had one rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns for Nooksack Valley.

"We played nose-to-nose with them," Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre said. "We cut down on penalties, now we need to learn how to finish."

The Moutaineers struck on their first play of the game after Nooksack Valley's opening drive stalled. Zender found Lindsay with no defenders within 5 yards of him for a 63-yard touchdown.

Nooksack Valley answered when Myhre ran in the ball from 19 yards out for a score. But Mount Baker added two more on a 1-yard run from Zender and a 5-yard pass from Zender to Hunter Gates that was perfectly lobbed over the Pioneers' defender.

The Pioneers were hitting short screen passes mixed with quarterback draws to confuse the Mountaineers' defense. Once Mount Baker got familiar with Nooksack Valley's rhythm, they forced two late fumbles, including Schwinden's strip to put away the Pioneers.

"Those quick screens really got on us," Zender said. "We just needed to do a better job squeezing the ball (on offense). It wasn't really something we've run into yet this season."

At the end of the first half, Nooksack Valley pulled within a touchdown with a quick strike. On the first play of the Pioneers' drive, Tanner Myhre hit Brady Wood for a 38-yard touchdown with just 1 minute, 54 seconds left in the half.

The Pioneers grabbed a Mount Baker fumble on the first play of the second half, setting up their next score. Tanner Myhre found Curtis Handy for a 32-yard touchdown on the first play of that drive, to even the score at 21.

Mount Baker fumbled again on its next possession, but made up for it with a fumble recovery a few plays later. That set up a long drive that ended with Liam Short punching in the ball from 1 yard out for the 28-21 lead, which the Mountaineers held for the entirety of the fourth quarter.

Mount Baker 7 14 7 14- 42

Nooksack Valley 7 7 7 0- 21

First quarter

MB - Travis Lindsay 63 pass from Andrew Zender (Alex Tyska kick)

NV - Tanner Myhre 19 run (Connor Beard kick)

Second quarter

MB - Zender 1 run (Tyska kick)

MB - Hunter Gates 5 pass from Zender (Tyska kick)

NV - Brady Wood 38 pass from Myhre (Beard kick)

Third quarter

NV - Curtis Handy 32 pass from Myhre (Beard kick)

MB - Liam Short 1 run (Tyska kick)

Fourth quarter

MB - Lindsay 19 pass from Zender (Tyska kick)

MB - Zender 1 run (Tyska kick)

MB NV

First downs 35 26

Rushing Att-Yards 35-230 25-96

Comp-Att-Int 6-10-0 27-38-1

Passing yards 129 236

Penalties-yards 4-25 6-35

Fumbles-lost 4-4 4-3

Individual leaders

RUSHING - Mount Baker: Andrew Zender 17-94, Liam Short 11-86, Izaiha Schwinden 7-50. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 20-73, Dalton Biehle 3-13, Curtis Handy 2-10.

PASSING - Mount Baker: Andrew Zender 6-10-0-129. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 27-38-1-236.

RECEIVING - Mount Baker: Travis Lindsay 3-89, Izaiha Schwinden 2-32, Seth Bass 1-8. Nooksack Valley: Curtis Handy 7-68, Brady Wood 9-104, Joshua Gimmaka 5-35, Dalton Biehle 4-22, William Kingma 2-7.

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