Overcoming injuries was the theme of the night for both Meridian and Blaine during the Borderites' 24-21 Northwest Conference Class 1A come-from-behind win Friday, Oct. 18, in Laurel. That, and navigating through the tremendously low-hanging, dense fog.
Blaine quarterback Nathan Kramme, who went down with an apparent lower-leg injury with a little more than a minute left in the first quarter, didn't return, and Blaine coach Jay Dodd couldn't provide a postgame diagnosis.
Kramme ranked third in passing among NWC quarterbacks entering the game with 821 yards and 12 TDs. He had also compiled 315 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Even though Marcus Potts proved he's more than a capable replacement at quarterback, Kramme's absence in future weeks would be difficult to deal with.
"I saw the injury, and it didn't look great," Dodd said, "but you never know. The trainer was very positive."
When asked how his leg felt after the game, Kramme smiled and said: "We'll go to the doctor, but it's never been better."
As for Meridian running back and NWC leading rusher Letrez Jones, he never returned in the second half after scoring two long first-half TDs. It was learned Jones was being checked out for a minor concussion, but he was unable to pass his tests. Senior Jacob Dennis also suffered an ugly looking injury. The senior lineman went down midway through the third and stayed down for several minutes. He was later seen with his pads off with one leg propped up on Meridian's sideline bench so he could watch the rest of the game.
FOG LOOMS OVER FRIDAY FOOTBALL
Fog blanketed most of western Whatcom County on Friday night, Oct. 19, and probably played a small role in all four high school football games played in the county - or at least in fans' ability to see exactly what was going on from the stands.
Lynden actually got a little bit of a preview of what was to come 24 hours earlier, when it held a practice under the lights on Thursday, Oct. 18, and the fog rolled in.
"We didn't think it would be two days in a row," Lynden running back Trent Postma said. "We were like, 'Oh, this is just a one-night thing.' But when the fog came out again, we were used to it, because we're practicing in it."
And it was a good thing the Lions got that opportunity.
Limited visibility can be an extreme handicap, particularly for a team that runs a no-huddle spread offense with plays called by hand signals from the sideline.
Fortunately, Lynden and coach Curt Kramme realized that could be a problem thanks to the fog on Thursday night.
"I was signaling last night in my black stuff, and the kids couldn't see me, so I knew I was going to have to bring something they could see me in," said Kramme, who chose to pull a bright yellow T-shirt over his black hoodie and wore a yellow ballcap to help his players pick him out on the sideline. "I've been joking that my wife was probably horrified with my attire. She understands. She's been with me for a long time, so she understands my lack of fashion sense. The kids needed to see me, and hopefully that helped and they didn't have any problems seeing me."
Lynden didn't seem to have too much trouble getting the signs to run, as they piled up 301 yards on 38 carries to roll to a 45-24 victory over the Tigers.
LYNCS FIND PASSING ATTACK AGAINST PIONEERS
The passing game for Lynden Christian took a dramatic turn in one week.
Last week, the Lyncs barely could move the ball in the air against Mount Baker.
This week against Nooksack Valley, the offensive attack was efficient. Lucas Roetcisoender threw only 11 times but tallied 167 yards on eight completions. It's a stark comparison to last week's 57 yards and three interceptions.
The reason for the turnaround is simple, Lynden Christian coach Galen Kaemingk said.
"We threw when we wanted to, not when we had to," Kaemingk said.
Kaemingk trusted his quarterback enough to even throw on 4th-and-goal. It went for a touchdown, so the faith was well-deserved.
Kaemingk knows his quarterback does his best with a strong running attack, which is the foundation of the Lyncs' offense. But if Roetcisoender keeps throwing like he did on Friday against the Pioneers, a new look may be coming for the Lyncs.
GROUND GAME LEADS MARINERS PAST STORM
The Sehome Mariners cleared the Squalicum hurdle this season, defeating the Storm football team 48-21 on Friday, Oct. 18, at Civic Stadium. The Mariners' ground game was their strongest point of the game, with 389 yards on 53 rushing attempts.
Sehome found a hole in the Storm's defense that it exploited by running a fake handoff up the middle and instead handing the ball to Austin Vosburgh, who hustled to the outside corner and past the first down marker time after time.
"They were keeping their linebackers in tight," Sehome quarterback Daniel Ziegler said.
Taylor Rapp also had a big rushing game, carrying the ball 27 times for 137 yards. Rapp nursed a bad ankle after the game, but it didn't stop him when the adrenaline was flowing, as he dragged would-be tacklers up the field before going down. He was one of the Mariners' "big playmakers" who Squalicum coach Reed Richardson said did in the Storm.
DEFENSE KEYS 50-7 WIN FOR MOUNT BAKER
For all of Mount Baker's offensive explosiveness and prowess, it was its defense that shined in the Mountaineers' 50-7 win over Friday Harbor on Friday, Oct. 18, in Friday Harbor.
The Mountaineers picked off three first-half passes from Friday Harbor, including Travis Lindsay's 40-yard interception return for a touchdown. Lindsay's interception gave Mount Baker a 28-0 lead at the time, and he followed that with a 6-yard touchdown run that gave Baker a 35-0 lead heading into the half.
Not to be lost in Mount Baker's defensive effort was the fact that Friday Harbor began the game in a different offensive look than it had used all season, Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said in a phone interview.
"They came out with a different offense then they had really shown this year," he said. "I thought our defense adjusted (well)."
Mount Baker (6-1 overall, 3-0 Northwest Conference Class 1A) has outscored its last two opponents by a combined margin of 99-21, and will take on Blaine (4-3, 3-0) on Friday, Oct. 25, at Mount Baker.
HERALD SPORTS DESK