Playing at Ferndale in the biggest rivalry game in Whatcom County is a pressure-packed situation for a quarterback getting his first road start.
Lynden sophomore signal-caller Sterling Somers' performance was a mixed bag of highs and lows.
"Sterling struggled a bit, but he threw that nice ball to Scooter Hastings there," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. "Unfortunately Sterling didn't see that guy. They got the pick, and that gave our defense a shot field. Sterling is a work in progress. He is a very talented young man, and he's just going to get better and better."
He finished the game 5 of 12 for 96 yards. He also carried the ball for 33 yards, and made an impressive, weaving run late in the game before fumbling.
"There's always a little bit of nerves," said Somers of preparing to play. "They settle down, and you have to make plays."
Somers bounced back from three straight possessions without a first down to lead his club on a 12-play, 97-yard TD drive that shifted the momentum of the game. His 62-yard TD pass to Hastings was a pretty ball put right where it needed to be.
POTTS PASSES TEST AGAINST TOUGH BAKER DEFENSE
Blaine coach Jay Dodd saw a number of reasons why Blaine got beat 52-19 by Mount Baker in a showdown of the last two remaining teams in Class 1A Northwest Conference play on Friday night.
Sophomore Marcus Potts making his first varsity start at quarterback for the Borderites wasn't one of them.
Potts, who took over when usual starter Nathan Kramme injured his knee last week in Blaine's win over Meridian, passed for 148 yards against the Mountaineers. His night was highlighted by a 62-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ball in the second quarter, though he also hooked up with Cody Gobbato on a 36-yard completion in the third.
"I thought Marcus did great," Dodd said. "We didn't get a whole lot of opprotuntities to go down the field, and give Mount Baker credit for that. I think Marcus did well and he's got a heck of a future. We just struggled offensively tonight."
Blaine certainly struggled against a stingy Mount Baker defense that didn't allow Blaine a first-quarter first down and limited the Borderites to 152 yards of total offense in the first half - less than half the 319 yards the Mountaineers generated, as they jumped out to a 38-12 halftime lead.
"We put some points on the board obviously, but our defense is doing a great job," Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. "They don't have (Mario) Gobbato this year, but they still try to run the ball a bit, and I thought our defense did a great job stopping them."
Dodd said Kramme plans to see a doctor this week for an MRI, and the team will await word whether he'll be able to see action again this season.
JONES SHOWS POWER RUNNING IN MERIDIAN WIN
Letrez Jones went off on Friday, Oct. 28, in Meridian's 45-14 win over Lynden Christian. Jones rushed 17 times for 221 yards, with 200 of those yards coming in the first half.
"Letrez is fast and strong," Lynden Christian coach Galen Kaemingk said. "He's tough to tackle."
Meridian coach Bob Ames said he would have preferred a more even rushing split between Jones and Bryce Garcia, but Garcia was getting over an illness on Friday. Despite being sick, Garcia rushed 10 times for 74 yards and a touchdown.
"The offensive line blocked great tonight," Jones said. "They did their job."
Meridian's big win came just one week after a tough-fought, close loss to Blaine that seemingly dashed the Trojans' hopes of getting into the 1A postseason. But with Blaine's loss to Mount Baker, and Meridian going into its biggest game of the season against the Mountaineers, the Trojans are hopeful they can reach postseason play.
"Maybe we get a win (against Mount Baker), or a little luck, and we get to a district crossover game or a play-in game," Ames said.
ZIEGLER SHINES ON THIRD DOWN
Sehome quarterback Daniel Ziegler doesn't just convert third downs, he turns them into spectacular plays.
Ziegler managed to perform at his best when the odds were against him and it was third and long.
"I just sit back and make reads," Ziegler said. "When the defenders' eyes are on the receivers I know I can take the ball down and run with it."
Twice in Friday's 49-24 loss to Sedro-Woolley, Ziegler turned third-and-long moments into big gains for the Mariners. One of them went for a 91-yard touchdown run.
Ziegler broke open the 91 yarder that started with him stuck in the pocket unable to find an open receiver. It wasn't a worry for Ziegler, though, as he broke around the rush to the far side of the field before cutting back all the way across the field, almost touching the sideline. It looked like he would go down at the 50-yard line but a stiff arm kept him standing and he sprinted past everyone to the end zone.
"He makes coaching and the (offensive line) look real good," Sehome coach Bob Norvell said.
Ziegler even forces the defense to change its game plan as the Cubs had to do at halftime.
"He's a great player," Sedro-Woolley coach Dave Ward said. "It was real fun to coach and play against him."
Now, Ziegler must make an even bigger run: a run into the playoffs.
LUMMI SENIORS END REGULAR SEASON WITH WIN
Six Lummi Blackhawks - Tony Decoteau, Logan Toby, Leo Scarbourough, Charlie Wilson, Deion Hoskins and James Lawrence - celebrated senior night on Friday, Oct. 25, after beating Lopez Island 54-28.
A few of the seniors shined, making their last regular season game at Blackhawks Stadium as memorable as any.
Toby led the charge with five touchdowns and 420 total yards, 329 passing and 91 on the ground. Lummi coach Jim Sandusky was very pleased with the effort he saw out of his quarterback.
"He did really well," Sandusky said. "His passes were spot on."
Hoskins was playing all over the field. He was even the main guy kicking the ball. Hoskins grabbed a handful of tackles on defense, combined for 97 all-purpose yards, and also had four PATs. Hoskins had two total touchdowns, his longest coming off of a 42-yard run - braking through the line, spinning his way around defenders and running over four Lobos trying to tackle him within the 10-yard line.
Another memorable performance came from Scarbourough, who had three catches for 63 yards. However, offensively is not the only place Scarbourough impacted the game. His greatest moments came when he intercepted two passes from Lobos senior Chase Schober, nearly taking one for a touchdown.
SQUALICUM SHOWS RESILIENCE, AGE IN LOSS TO BURLINGTON
When freshman wide receiver/defensive back Ben Peterson burst in to block a Burlington-Edison field goal attempt, proud Storm coach Reed Richardson reacted this way: "Peterson!" he shouted on the sideline with his arms emphasizing the point, expressing obvious pride in how consistently hard the young 155-pounder plays.
The play was part of a comeback that put the Storm up 25-21 in the third quarter after Squalicum trailed 21-7 following the first quarter. Playoff-hopeful Burlington, however, rallied to win on a 93-yard catch-and-run play from quarterback Rudy Mataya to wide receiver Timmie Rush with 2:54 remaining.
Richardson calls his team "super young" for understandable reasons, since he and his large staff have spent the season working with a lineup loaded with young prospects.
Another freshman who played exceptionally hard, Damek Mitchell, turned in a 41-yard run to help set up one of Luke Weber's three touchowns on a night of 28 carries for 188 yards for the shifty senior, who seemed to break dozens of tackles.
Junior defensive lineman Mike Banks, who is listed at 335 pounds, made several tackles and drew loud cheers from the sideline for them. Indeed, the Squalicum sideline consistently sounded as though the Storm (3-5 overall, 1-5 NWC Class 2A/3A) were in playoff contention instead of trying to improve.
"We did get better tonight," Richardson pointed out, expressing pride while trying to overcome the late disappointment.
PIONEERS OVERCOME INJURIES TO GET BIG WIN
The Nooksack Valley Pioneers, under-sized and under-experienced, had bad news this week in the form of injuries to three regulars. Despite that, the Pioneers rallied for a 35-28, come-from-behind win over visiting Friday Harbor. It has to be a boost of confidence for the Pioneers. Their wins have been few and far between this season.
Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre applauded the underclassmen who stepped up to fill roles vacated by injured starters.
"We felt like we were really improving as the season went along," he said. "Really, we're playing two seniors, so it's been a young group and out of our juniors, only two of them have had varsity experience."
More injuries this week depleted Nooksack's inexperienced team. But after an early fumble against Friday Harbor, Nooksack kept its poise and mixed up the offense with 177 yards in the air and 260 more on the ground.
The defense, out-sized on the line, had the tough task of stopping a tough runner up the middle in the form of Friday Harbor's Nathan Steenkolk. He ground out 233 yards on his own. But instead of wearing down, the Nooksack line got stronger. They stopped a potential game-tying drive in the final minutes, stalling the ground attack and forcing Friday Harbor to pass. Junior safety/quarterback Tanner Myhre picked off a throw to end the drive.
Junior running back Dalton Biehle led the rush in what Myhre called Nooksack's best ground game of the season. Myhre was happy with all the running backs, with four of them (and QB Tanner Myhre) taking the ball.