LYNDEN - Coming off of a tough, close loss to Blaine on Friday, Oct. 18, the Meridian football team got refocused.
The newfound focus showed as Trojans running back Letrez Jones rushed for 221 yards on 17 carries for four touchdowns and Meridian defeated Lynden Christian 45-14 on Friday, Oct. 25, at Lynden Christian High School.
The Meridian defense was keyed in against the Lyncs as well, sacking Lynden Christian quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender six times and pressuring him every time he threw the ball.
"If we didn't pressure the quarterback, they have a great passing game," Meridian coach Bob Ames said. "Spencer Blackburn played his best game, and we couldn't take him out because there was nobody to back him up."
The Trojans' defense also forced four Lynden Christian fumbles, recovering two, and grabbing an interception off of Roetcisoender's first pass of the game.
Meridian opened the game from its own 48-yard line, but got penalized for an illegal substitution before even snapping the ball, pushing the Trojans back to their own 43.
After two incompletions and a rush for no gain, the Trojans were forced to punt, but Jones faked the punt and ran the ball 57 yards for a touchdown.
Meridian grabbed the interception on Lynden Christian's following drive, but stalled on its own drive after a turnover on downs.
Lynden Christian's Nathan Rusnak made a solid stop just before the first-down marker as Jones tried to stretch for a first down, but Rusnak was injured on the play. After about 15 minutes on the ground, Rusnak was able to walk off the field with some help.
Meridian recovered a fumble on the Lyncs' next drive after a bad handoff, and Jones scored on a 36-yard run on the Trojans' following drive to give his team a 14-0 lead.
"Letrez is special; when you get him the ball, good things happen," Ames said.
In the second quarter, the Trojans' defense kept up the pressure on Roetcisoender and was rewarded when Jones scored again on a 24-yard run midway through the quarter.
After forcing Lynden Christian into another 3-and-out, Meridian ran another trick play. Quarterback Tanner Tutterrow pitched the ball to Jones, who ran to the right before turning around and throwing the ball backward across the field to Tutterrow, who passed the ball upfield to Sam Chambers for the 63-yard passing touchdown.
Chambers finished the night with two catches for 83 yards, leading Meridian's seven receivers that registered a reception.
Meridian ended the first half with a 29-yard field goal by Yoel Ortiz for the 31-0 lead.
Lynden Christian looked more focused after the intermission. The Lyncs stalled on their first drive of the half, but picked off the Tutterrow pass on Meridian's first play of the second half.
The Lyncs followed that big play up with a 43-yard touchdown bomb from Roetcisoender to receiver Alex Vander Velden. Vander Velden finished with four catches for 63 yards.
"When we gave Lucas time to throw he was great," Lynden Christian coach Galen Kaemingk said. "I think our guys played hard tonight."
But Meridian had an answer. After a two-minute, 30-second drive, the Trojans scored again, this time on a 10-yard run by Bryce Garcia for a 38-7 lead. Garcia rushed for 74 yards on 10 carries in the game.
Jones scored his fourth TD toward the end of the quarter, capping off a quick, four-play drive with a one-yard touchdown.
Lynden Christian scored for the final time in the fourth quarter when cornerback Zach Roetcisoender returned an interception off of Trojans' backup quarterback Jameson Hodge 78 yards for the score.
The Lyncs' pass defense was strong all night, holding Tutterrow to 10 completions on 23 attempts with an interception. Tutterrow threw for 140 yards in the game.
Meridian 14 17 14 0- 45
Lynden Christian 0 0 7 7- 14
Meridian - Letrez Jones 57 run (Yoel Ortiz kick)
Meridian - Jones 36 run (Ortiz kick)
Meridian - Jones 24 run (Ortiz kick)
Meridian - Sam Chambers 63 pass from Tanner Tutterrow (Ortiz kick)
Meridian - Ortiz 29 Field Goal
Lynden Christian - Alex Vander Velden 43 pass from Lucas Roetcisoender (Trevor Kamena kick)
Meridian - Bryce Garcia 10 run (Ortiz kick)
Meridian - Jones 1 run (#21 kick)
Lynden Christian - Zach Roetcisoender 78 interception return (Kamena kick)
First Downs 33 16
Rushing Att-Yds 35-297 22-(-10)
Comp-Att-Int 10-26-2 6-11-1
Passing Yds 140 73
Penalties-Yds 8-65 5-35
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-2
RUSHING - Meridian: Letrez Jones 17-221, Bryce Garcia 10-74, Cody Bachman 3-7, Kevin Castro 2-5, Koby Smith 1-(-1), Tanner Tutterrow 2-(-9). Lynden Christian: Josh Friberg 5-10, Blake Mellema 2-4, Josh Hornstra 2-0, Jordan Jansen 6-(-1), Lucas Roetcisoender 7-(-23).
PASSING - Meridian: Tanner Tutterrow 10-23-1-140, Sam Chambers 0-1-0-0, Jameson Hodge 0-2-1-0. Lynden Christian: Lucas Roetcisoender 6-10-1-73, Zach Roetcisoender 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING - Meridian: Sam Chambers 2-83, Jacob Plagerman 1-27, Kyle Linderman 1-11, Danner Linderman 2-9, Bryce Garcia 1-9, Letrez Jones 2-2, Cody Bachman 1-(-1). Lynden Christian: Alex Vander Velden 4-63, Zach Roetcisoender 1-9, Nick Price 1-1.