There's a single resounding trait any player has who runs the football, lead blocks and starts at inside linebacker. That's physicality.
Lynden Christian's Josh Friberg has more than his share.
Not only does Friberg lead the Lyncs with 357 rush yards and five TDs, he also ranks top two among the team in tackles. When he's not racking up yards or tracking down ball carriers, he's widening lanes for fellow LC backs to run through.
"He's a big, physical presence for us," Lynden Christian coach Galen Kaemingk said in a phone interview. "We play him both at tailback and fullback. If he's not carrying the ball, he'll be up front. We expect a lot of him physically."
Friberg's development into one of LC's senior leaders has followed a path similar to his team's success. Before this year, LC won a single Class 1A game during 2011 and 2012 - Friberg's sophomore year and junior year - but the club is 2-3 this season and was a last-minute come-from-behind rally from being 3-2.
Like LC, Friberg has blossomed this season, maturing into an even-keeled play-maker with a knack for deliver big blows.
He'll have a shot to catapult the Lyncs into the Class 1A Tri-District Playoffs during a three-team mini playoff between LC, South Whidbey and Meridian Tuesday, Nov. 5, at Meridian High School in Laurel. Lynden Christian will play a half-game against South Whidbey for the right to play Meridian in another half-game. The last team standing will get the district's fourth and final seed and head to play Charles Wright Academy on Friday or Saturday, Nov. 8 or 9, with a trip to the state playoffs on the line..
"Those guys are invaluable," said Kaemingk of Friberg's physical nature. "To go anywhere in football, you have to be physical. I think emotionally he's come a long ways, too. He use to get down on himself if he messed up. He was his own worst critic. He has been a lot more emotionally level."
Friberg's running style represents his unwavering demeanor. He's not flashy, not shifty. Rather, he runs downhill with two arms cradling the ball, gets his four yards, chews up clock and doesn't fumble.
His ability to extend drives and run off time was especially important during Lynden Christian's 27-20 win last week against Friday Harbor.
"We got the lead and got the ball back with 7 minutes to go," Kaemingk explained. "We said, 'Hey, look, they can't score if they don't have the ball.' We were able to churn out first downs. ... We took the clock all the way down to 30 seconds."
Friberg's growth has extended to his ability to lead, as well. His leadership has been increasingly important with a roster full of younger players.
"He's played a lot, and his sophomore year he wasn't as big and strong," Kaemingk said. "He took his lumps a little bit. As a junior he got better. This year has been good for him, and he's really been a leader as far as the team goes, establishing a physical presence. We've really been depending on him, and he's doing a good job."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.
CLASS 1A NORTHWEST DISTRICT MINI-PLAYOFFS
Time: South Whidbey vs. Lynden Christian 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5; South Whidbey/Lynden Christian winner vs. Meridian 7:30 p.m.
Site: Meridian High School
Lyncs update: Lynden Christian (4-5, 2-3 NWC 1A) came from behind to beat Friday Harbor 27-20 last week. The Lyncs surrendered 20 straight points after leading 9-0 but scored the final 18 points of the game. Jordan Jansen's 64 yards on 14 carries led the rushing attack, while Lucas Roetcisoender threw for 115 yards on 6 of 9 passing.
Falcons: South Whidbey (5-4, 2-4 CC) lost to 48-13 to Cedarcrest last week. The Falcons have won lost two of their last four games, and quarterback Nick French leads the Cascade Conference with 1,262 yards and 10 passing TDs. French also has rushed for a team-high 592 yards and seven touchdowns. French's favorite target, Nick Bennett, leads the CC with 484 yards on 28 receptions.
Trojans update: Meridian (5-4, 3-2 NWC 1A) suffered a 24-17 loss to Mount Baker last week. The Trojans rallied from a 17-point deficit to pull even in the final minutes but gave up a game-winning touchdown with less than a minute to go. Running back Letrez Jones made up for a slow start in the second half, ending with 192 yards on 31 carries. Quarterback Tanner Tutterrow completed 17 of 26 passes for 171 yards.
Key to the game: Meridian quarterback Tanner Tutterrow for the first time in five weeks. Look for him to bounce back and help the Trojans earn a spot in the 1A Tri-District Playoffs.
Herald's pick: Lynden Christian 17-14; Meridian 21-10
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.