With 1,899 yards rushing through the first five weeks of 2013, Ferndale has certainly showed it can run the football.
But in their 41-7 victory over Squalicum on Friday, Oct. 4, the Golden Eagles proved they are capable of throwing the ball, as well.
Quarterback Cooper Clark passed for 93 yards, hitting 5 of 8 passes.
"They were really crowding the line of scrimmage," Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said. "We've got to take advantage of that when they're ultra aggressive like that. Fortunately, we were able to hit some over the top."
The biggest came midway through the second quarter, when Clark found Joey Akers for a 59-yard catch and run for a touchdown to put Ferndale up 19-0 at halftime.
THE LEGEND GROWS
With Meridian's 32-0 win at Friday Harbor on Friday, Trojans coach Bob Ames grabbed his 288 career coaching victory in his 40th season leading the program.
That moves Ames past former Stanwood, Bellarmine Prep, Renton, Everett Cascade and Archbishop Murphy coach Terry Ennis for the second most high school coaching wins in state history.
Ames now only trails Tumwater's Sid Otton, who picked up his 351st coaching win with a 35-28 win over Chehalis W.F. West on Friday.
Ames is now 288-133 (68.4 win percentage) overall and has led the Trojans to three state titles.
LYNDEN'S DEFENSE CONTINUES TO PLAY WELL
The Lions' defense has been proving itself game after game, and during the team's 45-7 win against Sehome Friday, Oct. 4, in Lynden, it was no different.
The Mariners' rushing attack entered the game averaging 183.7 yards. Speedy quarterback Daniel Ziegler has displayed his big-play capability and Austin Vosburgh has shown he's a capable back during the first four weeks of the season.
Sehome's second leading rusher Taylor Rapp didn't play, but the Lions' rush defense, spearheaded by middle linebackers Jaremy Martin and Jensen Mayberry, left Sehome with no room to run.
The Mariners only had 46 first-half total yards. Only 27 of those were rush yards. Sehome went three-and-out during its first four drives and didn't record a first down until 33 seconds were left in the first half.
Defensive linemen Caden Lair, Colin Bovenkamp and Alex Kildall and Kody Ames and Jalani Phelps also made major contributions in the run game. An extra safety was also brought into the box, and Sehome coach Bob Norvell said that made running the ball a real challenge
"They brought their safety up, and it was hard to account for in our running attack," he said.
The Lions gave up only 107 yards on the ground, and a large portion of those occurred late when Lynden was playing most of its No. 2's.
Lynden surrendered six points to King's, 14 to Anacortes, 20 to Mount Baker, seven to Sedro-Woolley and now seven to Sehome.
"From a coach's perspective, we say, 'OK, were going to study defense first,'" Lions coach Curt Kramme said. "We come in tomorrow morning, the first thing we are going to say is, 'How do we stop Bellingham?' We try to do that every week. We like to think we put together a pretty good plan, but ultimately the boys do it. Playing Ziegler tonight we knew he was a potential game breaker at any time, and I thought our kids were just extremely discipline about doing what we asked them to do."
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
Dave Fakkema will long treasure this weekend.
The longtime Blaine line coach saw sons Jon Fakkema, a standout junior line starter, and Josh, a sophomore line prospect, contribute to Blaine's 20-19 last-minute victory over Lynden Christian after the Borderites trailed 17-0 until the final play of the third quarter.
Then Dave went home to try to get a few hours of sleep before beginning the long drive to Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif., where he and his father planned to watch Dave's son, Central Washington University freshman James Fakkema, suit up for the football team for the first time as a true freshman on Saturday night, Oct. 5.
"Twelve hours!" Fakkema said with a twinkle in his eye.
Fakkema helped make whatever adjustments the Borderites needed after the Lyncs seemed on the way to their first Northwest Conference Class 1A victory in two years.
HOLD ON TO THE BALL
Mount Baker football defeated Nooksack Valley 42-21, but turnovers kept the game close until the fourth quarter when the Mountaineers used a fumble recovery to pull away.
Nooksack Valley forced four fumbles in the game, recovering all four. Two of those fumbles led to touchdowns for the Pioneers.
The Mountaineers forced four fumbles of their own, recovering three.
One fumble came on a Mount Baker punt, when the Nooksack Valley punt returner fumbled the ball as he called fair catch. The turnover resulted in a touchdown.
Another Mount Baker recovery came in the fourth quarter, when Izaiha Schwinden stripped a Nooksack Valley receiver who was being tackled. Schwinden's strip set up the Mountaineers' game-clinching touchdown.
"It was really igniting," Mount Baker quarterback Andrew Zender said.
BELLINGHAM BATTLING INJURY
Injuries plague every team from time to time, but Bellingham has gotten hit with a firestorm of hard knocks this season. After starting the season with 35 players, the Red Raiders were down to just 18 after Friday's game with Sedro-Woolley.
"It's tough," Bellingham coach Steve Wilson said. "It's just one of those seasons. Hopefully, we'll stay healthy from here on out."
Before the game started, Bellingham, who hasn't been able to do full 11-on-11 drills in weeks, only had 23 available players. That was until the fast, athletic, hard-hitting Cubs knocked out five more.
"Our guys like to hit," Sedro-Woolley coach Dave Ward said. "We like football, and we like to smack, and we did have some hitting going on, but we are going to have to come out next week and keep hitting against Ferndale."
Bellingham was just on the wrong end of a lot of those hits. Quarterback Eric Thompson got hit several times early in the game, but the Cubs didn't let off the pedal.
After fielding a kickoff, Isaiah White got blasted by a Cubs' player. White laid on the ground for several minutes while trainers tended to him. Fortunately, he got up holding his arm, before he was taken to the hospital.
Shadle Park junior quarterback Brett Rypien, the nephew of former Washington state University quarterback and Super Bowl XXVI Most Valuable Player Mark Rypien, broke two state 11-man single-game passing records and came within a touchdown of tying another in a 63-42 victory over Mount Spokane on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Rypien threw for 613 yards in the game, surpassing the old record of 577 he set last year. According to maxpreps.com, that mark is 17th all-time nationally.
His 44 completions in the game passed the old mark of 42 set in 2011 by Bonney Lake's Chris Brown.
Rypien also threw for eight touchdowns in the game, tying him for second place with Lakes' Drew Miller (1996), Prosser's Kellen Moore (2006) and Kentlake's Steffin Church (2012), one TD behind the record of nine set by DeSale's Brian Lindgren in 1998.
LOOKING AHEAD TO WEEK 6
NWC 2A/3A GAME OF THE WEEK
SEDRO-WOOLLEY AT FERNDALE
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Ferndale High School
Both teams have shown and ability to run the ball and play hard-nosed defense, and both need as many NWC 2A/3A wins as possible to improve their playoff positioning.
NWC 1A GAME OF THE WEEK
NOOKSACK VALLEY AT MERIDIAN
7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, at Meridian High School
The Pioneers played Mount Baker pretty tough during the first week of NWC 1A play, while Meridian seems to be ready to make another run after a big win at Friday Harbor.