Pioneers overcome injuries to beat Friday Harbor

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 25, 2013 

EVERSON - The story of Nooksack Valley's come-from-behind 35-28 victory over visiting Friday Harbor on Friday, Oct. 25, might also be the story of the young Pioneers' frustrating season.

A rash of injuries this week took out several of Nooksack's key players and the already young lineup became more inexperienced. Curtis Handy, Austin Holmstrom-Conn and Brady Wood all missed the game with injuries. Handy is likely out for the season.

"(We) felt they were getting better and better and then we had a rash of three juniors that got injured," said head coach Robb Myhre. "Now we're playing a freshman starting. ... We had another kid start his first varsity game tonight. So we took a step back and said 'Hey, we're good enough to win. Let's just not beat ourselves. ... Let's just play football.'"

After an early turnover that led to a quick Friday Harbor score, the Pioneers had to play comeback right away. The offense was forced to keep pace with a Friday Harbor attack that pushed the ball up the middle with consistency. Nooksack found themselves behind 21-7 midway through the second quarter.

"They got a lot of yards up the middle for three quarters," Myhre said. "We started getting a good rotation in there, staying low. We did defensively better."

Junior running back Dalton Biehle ran the ball 13 times for 188 yards, and junior quarterback Tanner Myhre passed for 177 yards while running for 120 more. "Our best running game of the season so far, definitely," Myhre said. "Biehle really stepped it up and had a nice game for us running the football."

Keeping penalties and turnovers to a minimum, Nooksack Valley rallied for two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the half. Kicker Connor Beard converted a nice fake on one of the conversion attempts, running it around the end for two points that enabled a 22-21 half-time lead.

Friday Harbor's big run up the middle against the smaller Nooksack line stalled in the second half, thanks to outstanding efforts by Lathan and Leni Halaapiapi, and some timely stops by Alex Boots, Blake Warner and Hunter Whittern.

"We just got down low and came in hard," said Leni Halaapiapi, who said the team was confident coming out for the second half. "We knew we had it."

Nooksack Valley kept the ball moving in the second half. The defensive line found a way to stuff the potent run, stalling Friday harbor drives. With Friday Harbor forced to the air, Tanner Myhre intercepted the ball in the waning moments to seal the win.

Friday Harbor 14 7 7 0-28

Nooksack Vall. 7 15 7 6-35

First quarter

Friday Harbor: Nathan Steenkolk 8 run (Will Christison kick)

Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 1 run (Connor Beard kick)

Friday Harbor: Steenkolk 3 run (Christison kick)

Second quarter

Friday Harbor: Steenkolk 7 run (Christison kick)

Nooksack Valley: Dalton Biehle 9 run (Beard run)

Nooksack Valley: Myhre 2 run (Beard kick)

Third quarter

Friday Harbor: Dylan Radden 9 run (Christison kick)

Nooksack Valley: Biehle 19 run (Beard kick)

Fourth quarter

Myhr 8 run (kick failed)

FH NV

First Downs 18 22

Rushing Att-Yards 52-346 34-260

Comp-Att-Int 3-12-1 10-24-1

Passing yards 32 177

Penalties-yards 3-25 5-40

Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-2

Individual leaders

RUSHING - Friday Harbor: Nathan Steenkolk 33-233, Peter Holt 2-16, Amer Melic 1-1, CJ Woods 5-25, Dylan Radden 8-63, Willie Blackmon 1-4, Landon Rishel 2-4. Nooksack Valley: Connor Beard 2-4, Tanner Myhre 16-120, Ryan Gelwicks 2-3, William Kingma 1-15, Dalton Biehle 13-118.

PASSING - Friday Harbor: Peter Holt 1-1-0-10, Nathan Steenkolk 0-3-0-0, CJ Woods 2-8-1-22. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 10-24-1-177.

RECEIVING - Friday Harbor: Willie Blackmon 3-32. Nooksack Valley: Joe McNeely 1-14, Jason Swanson 1-6, Dalton Biehle 2-48, Connor Beard 4-89, William Kingma 2-3, Joshua Gimmaka 1-17.

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