LYNDEN CHRISTIAN AT FRIDAY HARBOR
Time: 6:45 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Friday Harbor High School
Lyncs update: Lynden Christian (3-5, 1-3 NWC 1A) suffered a 45-14 loss to Meridian last week. The Lyncs trailed 31-0 before getting on the board. LC's defense had trouble slowing Meridian's ground attack, giving up 297 yards and five TDs. Lucas Roetcisoender threw a touchdown pass, and Zach Roetcisoender scored on a 78-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Alex Vander Velden had four catches for 63 yards and a score.
Wolverines update: Friday Harbor (3-5, 0-4 NWC 1A) lost its fourth straight game, falling to Nooksack Valley 35-28 last week. Running back Nathan Steenkolk ran for a season-high 233 yards on 33 carries, scoring three touchdowns. The Wolverines gave up 260 yards rushing and five TDs on the ground, which is three less than the Pioneers have scored all season. Friday Harbor completed only three passes while using three different quarterbacks.
Player to watch: Josh Friberg was limited to a season-low 10 yards on five carries last week, and Lynden Christian finished with negative 10 rushing yards. Friberg could help LC's ground attack re-establish itself against a Nooksack Valley team giving up 5.8 yards per carry.
Key to the game: Lynden Christian can snag a playoff berth with a win, but LC will more than likely need to slow down Wolverine star Nathan Steenkolk and also place an emphasis on its own run game.
Herald's pick: Lynden Christian 34-21
BURLINGTON-EDISON AT SEDRO-WOOLLEY
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Sedro-Woolley High School
Tigers update: Burlington-Edison (4-4, 3-3 NWC 2A/3A) rallied late to beat Squalicum 32-25 last week. Rudy Mataya did a little bit of everything, scoring on a 67-yard TD run and throwing for a 93-yard TD. The Tigers amassed 308 rushing yards at a 7.5 yards-per-carry clip, and Curtis Carlson recorded his second straight 100-yard game, rushing for 129 yards on 16 carries. The win snapped a two-game losing skid, and the Tigers can earn the final 2A playoff spot with a win or a Sehome and Anacortes loss.
Cubs update: Sedro-Woolley (6-2, 5-1 NWC 2A/3A) scored 35 unanswered points after trailing by three at halftime to beat Sehome 49-24 last week. Shawn Kennedy scored four touchdowns and rushed for 137 of the Cubs' 368 yards. Clayton Johnson recorded 84 yards on 12 carries. Sedro-Woolley extended its win streak to four, has clinched the NWC 2A No. 2 spot and will host Lake Washington in the district playoffs.
Player to watch: The Cubs have rushed for 741 yards during their last two games against Sehome and Anacortes. Shawn Kennedy could be in line for another big night against a Burlington-Edison club yielding 5.6 yards per carry.
Key to the game: Sedro-Woolley has deviated from its passing attack the past four weeks. If the Tigers can stack the box and make the Cubs win through the air, Burlington-Edison could have a shot against its Skagit County rival.
Herald's pick: Sedro-Woolley 35-17
ANACORTES AT FERNDALE
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Ferndale High School
Seahawks update: Anacortes (5-3, 3-3 NWC 2A/3A) beat Bellingham 43-12 last week. The Seahawks scored all of their 43 points in the first half. Leading rusher and quarterback Jared Douglas ran for scores of 24 and 27 yards and threw touchdown passes to Andrew Medalia and Joe D'Amelio. Nick Monroe and Logan Eby each ran for TDs, and the Seahawks can make the 2A playoffs with a win and a Burlington-Edison loss.
Golden Eagles update: Ferndale (6-2, 4-2 NWC 2A/3A) lost 14-6 to Lynden in a defensive battle last week. The Golden Eagles struggled getting their run game going, recording a season-low 210 rushing yards. Marcus Nightingale scored their only touchdown early in the contest. Leading back Joey Akers, who has been battling an ankle injury, rushed for a team-high 87 yards. Ferndale's defense was impressive, though, limiting the Lions to 235 total yards and a season-low five pass completions.
Player to watch: Marcus Nightingale and Ferndale's ground attack could be in line for a big game against an Anacortes defense that's giving up 6.0 yards per carry.
Key to the game: What got lost in last week's tough loss to Lynden was how well Ferndale's defense played. If the Golden Eagles can limit Anacortes like they did Sterling Somers and the Lions, Ferndale should be a strong bet to win.
Herald's pick: Ferndale 28-10
NOOKSACK VALLEY AT BLAINE
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Blaine High School
Pioneers update: Nooksack Valley (2-6, 1-3 NWC 1A) snapped its five-game losing streak with a 35-28 win last week. Tanner Myhre scored a fourth-quarter TD to seal the win. The Pioneers used a balanced attack, rushing for 260 yards and passing for 177, but their defense couldn't slow Friday Harbor's Nathan Steenkolk and the Wolverines' ground game. Steenkolk rumbled for 233 yards and three touchdowns. The Pioneers can still get into the 1A district playoffs with win or a loss depending on a number of scenarios.
Borderites update: Blaine (4-4, 3-1 NWC 1A) suffered its worst loss of the season, falling to Mount Baker 52-19 last week in Deming. Blaine bottled up the Mountaineers' leading rusher, Izaiha Schwinden, but still gave up big plays and missed a number of tackles. Backup quarterback Marcus Potts threw for 140 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 8 of 17 passing during his first start after replacing injured Nathan Kramme. Cole Muder was limited to 74 yards on 15 carries. The Borderites have clinched a playoff spot and are playing for district seeding.
Player to watch: Northwest Conference leading receiver Josiah Westbrook has recorded only five catches the last three games. He and fellow wideout Anthony Ball give sophomore QB Potts two great targets to throw to.
Key to the game: Cole Muder has been slowed each of the past two weeks. If Blaine's offensive front can create some running lanes and its defensive can recover from last week's performance, the Borderites should add a fourth league win.
Herald's pick: Blaine 38-28
SEHOME AT BELLINGHAM
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Civic Stadium
Mariners update: Sehome (3-5, 2-4 NWC 2A/3A) ended its two-game win streak with a 49-24 loss to Sedro-Woolley at home last week. The Mariners led 17-14 at half but gave up 35 straight points after the break. Quarterback Daniel Ziegler again flaunted his athleticism, rushing for 166 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. He also threw for 126 yards, a touchdown and an interception while accounting for 292 of Sehome's 341 yards of total offense. The Mariners can force a Kansas tiebreaker scenario for the final 2A playoff spot if they win and Anacortes and Burlington-Edison lose. A win will also crown Sehome city champs.
Red Raiders update: Bellingham (0-8, 0-6 NWC 2A/3A) extended its losing streak with a 43-12 defeat last week in Anacortes. Tanner Aliff returned a kickoff back for a touchdown and Eric Thompson connected with Tristan Hurley for a 40-yard touchdown, but both scores came after the Red Raiders trailed 43-0 heading into the half. Bellingham held Anacortes scoreless in the second half, although the Seahawks were playing many of their backups at that point. The Red Raiders have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Player to watch: Taylor Rapp recorded only 22 yards on four carries a week after rushing for 137 yards against Squalicum. Look for him to make an impact in both the running and passing game.
Key to the game: In spite of Bellingham's downfalls this season, it has some great athletes in Kailen Hayes, Melvin Deal and Tanner Aliff. If the Mariners can stop them, a city title is theirs for the taking.
Herald's pick: Sehome 47-13
MOUNT BAKER AT MERIDIAN
Time: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Meridian High School
Mountaineers update: Mount Baker (7-1, 4-0 NWC 1A) displayed its many offensive weapons during a 52-19 win against Blaine last week in Deming. Big-play back Izaiha Schwinden rushed for a season-low 22 yards on 11 carries, but fellow back Liam Short made up for it, rushing for 121 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Andrew Zender showed off his arm, tossing touchdowns to Seth Bass, Travis Lindsay and Hunter Gates. The Mountaineers scored 49 or more points for the third straight week and can lock up an automatic state bid with a win on Thursday.
Trojans update: Meridian (5-3, 3-1 NWC 1A) bounced back from its first league loss with a 45-14 win against Lynden Christian last week in Lynden. Electric running back Letrez Jones was at it again, rushing for 221 yards and four touchdowns. It was the third time in the last four games he's eclipsed 200 yards. The Trojans' defense held Lynden Christian's offense to negative 10 rush yards and only 63 total yards of offense. Meridian can earn as much as the NWC's No. 1 or 3 seed based on how Thursday's games pan out.
Player to watch: Short's work at running has been somewhat overshadowed by Schwinden's big numbers. He's been a great compliment all season and will help tremendously against a stout Meridian defense.
Key to the game: The Trojans have given up a measly 53.3 rush yards the past three games and haven't allowed more than 160 ground yards in a game since their season opener. Whether Meridian can slow Schwinden and Short may be the difference in the game. Mount Baker will have a tough task stopping Jones, too.
Herald's pick: Mount Baker 31-24
SQUALICUM AT LYNDEN
Time: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1
Site: Lynden High School
Storm update: Squalicum (3-5, 2-4 NWC 2A/3A) endured its fourth straight loss, falling to Burlington-Edison 32-25 on the road last week. The Storm took a late lead, but the Tigers rallied with a third-quarter field goal and late touchdown. Luke Weber ran for a season-high 188 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, and quarterback Clark Hazlett completed 14 of 24 passes for 159 yards. Squalicum's defense limited Burlington-Edison to two pass completions but gave up big plays, including a 67-yard TD run, a kickoff return for touchdown and a 93-yard touchdown pass. The Storm has been eliminated from playoff contention.
Lions update: Lynden (8-0, 6-0 NWC) claimed a league title with its 14-6 win against Ferndale last week on the road. The Lions' defense starred once again, allowing only one touchdown for the fifth time this year. Trent Postma ran for a game-high 95 yards and did most of his damage on a game-changing 97-yard TD drive he capped with a score. Scooter Hastings hauled in a 62-yard catch-and-run TD pass to extend Lynden's lead after halftime. New sophomore QB Sterling Somers made enough plays to win, but had a completion percentage under 50 percent for the second straight week.
Player to watch: Defensive lineman Jonah Wilson and the rest of his fellow linemen will be needed to help free up Postma and Jaremy Martin to make tackles on Storm running backs Weber and Nick Manchester.
Key to the game: If Lynden's defense can slow down Weber, who's coming off a big week, it can rely on secondary players Jacob Boland, Jordan Wittenberg, Rudy Mendoza and Trey Shagren to shut down the Storm's passing attack.
Herald's pick: Lynden 40-14
LUMMI AT TULALIP HERITAGE
Time: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31
Site: Marysville-Pilchuck High School
Lummi update: Lummi (6-2, 3-1 NWFL 1B) beat Lopez 54-28 last week. Logan Toby had a huge game, throwing for 329 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 91 yards and another score. Austin Brockie threw for 58 yards and score to give the Blackhawks a total of 387 yards through the air. He also caught six passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Lummi recorded three interceptions and gave up 135 rushing yards.
Hawks update: Tulalip Heritage (3-3, 2-2 NWFL 1B) earned a dramatic last-second win against Clallam Bay 30-28 last week on the road. Running back Dante Jones caught a 4-yard TD pass from Robert Miles Jr. with 4 seconds left, and Jones ran in a two-point conversion for the win. Miles Jr. also caught two touchdown passes, and starting quarterback Aryk Miranda threw for two TD scores.
Player to watch: Dino Williams scored twice last week and hauled in 94 receiving yards. Look for him to have a big night with Toby or Brockie throwing to him.
Key to the game: Leading rusher Deion Hoskins only carried the ball three times for 37 yards last week. If the Blackhawks can get their big man rolling, Lummi should roll Tulalip Heritage.
Herald's pick: Lummi 62-28
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.