LYNDEN - Lynden's defense held strong and keyed a big first-round playoff win over Sultan. Despite early struggles, the Lions had a big fourth quarter and notched a 35-7 Class 2A Bi-District Playoffs victory over the Turks.
"Our defense has just been nails all season," Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. "(Sultan) is about the third or fourth Wing-T team we've seen this season, so we're pretty well-versed in it."
Lynden running back Trent Postma ran 17 times for 108 yards and a touchdown, to boost his offense while the passing game struggled to get into a rhythm.
Early on, Sultan looked like it was trying to throw the Lions' game right back at them as the Turks defense continuously shifted as Lynden was looking to the sideline for playcall changes. But Lynden stuck to its gameplan even as the passing game stumbled.
"We just had good play calling all night," Lynden quarterback Sterling Somers said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves."
Lynden looked good on its first drive as the methodical playcalling Somers drove the Lions to the Sultan 14-yard line. From there, Somers found receiver Scooter Hastings for a touchdown pass that Somers threw where only Hastings could reach the ball as he somehow kept his feet inside the endzone.
The two teams exchanged punts for the remainder of the first quarter, as Sultan's running game struggled to find a hole in Lynden's defense, while the Lions' receivers had trouble hauling in Somers' passes.
In the second quarter Lynden found another opening on offense. After receiving a Sultan punt in the Turks' territory, Somers followed Postma's lead blocking for a big 19-yard gain into the red zone. A couple of plays later, Somers hit receiver Jalani Phelps for a 16-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lynden tried an onside kick from its normal kickoff formation. A Sultan player on the front line grabbed the ball and tried to take off downfield, but was stripped of the ball and the Lions took over on offense again.
Lynden failed to capitalize, driving all the way to the Turks' 4-yard line before Sultan picked off Somers' next pass in the end zone.
Coming out of halftime with a 14-0 lead, Lynden's defense quickly adjusted to Sultan's changes on offense. The Turks drove to Lynden's 11-yard line, thanks in part to a 35-yard pass from Deion Bonilla to James McKenzie. But Lynden's Jacob Boland made sure to keep Sultan off the scoreboard with an interception in the end zone.
At the end of the third quarter, Sultan failed to capitalize after it picked off another Somers pass. On the ensuing punt to kick off the fourth quarter, Jordan Wittenberg saw a path to the end zone and took it, diving past the pylon to avoid the final Sultan player.
"As soon as I caught the punt, I saw that opening and knew I had a good chance to score," he said.
Lynden would run up a 35-0 lead with two more scores in the quarter. The first was Postma's 18-yard rushing touchdown, which served as his reward for keeping the Lions' offense pushing forward throughout the game.
The second came on Lynden's next drive. Backup quarterback Cameron Wainwright had put the Lions in striking distance of the end zone with a 25-yard pass to Postma, and Jaremy Martin capped off the drive with a rushing touchdown from two yards out.
Sultan scored on its next drive using a trick play. Running back Antonio Rivas took the snap and passed to a wide open Bonilla, who had lined up next to the Lynden sideline with nobody covering him and ran the ball all the way in for the 49-yard touchdown reception.
Somers led Lynden's passing game through early struggles, throwing for 110 yards on 10-25 passing. Despite the Lions' tough defense, Bonilla kept pace with Somers as he threw for 120 yards on 12-19 passing.
Postma's big game led Lynden's rushing, but Somers also ran 13 times for 68 yards. The Lions' defense was able to keep Sultan running back Cooper Beucherie in check, holding him to 34 yards on 10 rushes.
Sultan 0 0 0 7- 7
Lynden 7 7 0 21- 35
Lyn - Scooter Hastings 14 pass from Sterling Somers (Alex Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Jalani Phelps 16 pass from Somers (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Jordan Wittenberg 45 punt return (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Trent Postma 18 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Lyn - Jaremy Martin 2 run (Otano-Guenther kick)
Sul - Deion Bonilla 49 pass from Antonio Rivas (Josh Gonzalez kick)
First downs 19 38
Rushing Att-Yards 21-39 39-220
Comp-Att-Int 13-20-2 11-28-2
Passing yards 169 135
Penalties-yards 5-25 6-60
Fumbles-lost 2-2 0-0
RUSHING - Sultan: Cooper Beucherie 10-34, James Mackenzie 3-12, Tanner Sentman 2-9, James Kern 1-4, Deion Bonilla 1-(-9), Antonio Rivas 4-(-11). Lynden: Trent Postma 17-108, Sterling Somers 13-68, Jaremy Martin 5-43, Cameron Wainwright 1-3, Ben Colwell 1-1, Colby Spady 2-(-3).
PASSING - Sultan: Deion Bonilla 12-19-2-120, Antonio Rivas 1-1-0-49. Lynden: Sterling Somers 10-25-2-110, Cameron Wainwright 1-3-0-25.
RECEIVING - Sultan: Deion Bonilla 1-49, Bubba Branham 5-41, James Mackenzie 1-35, Antonia Rivas 3-23, Levi Williams 1-10, Kyhle Kash 1-6, Cooper Beucherie 1-5. Lynden: Jalani Phelps 6-67, Scooter Hastings 2-32, Trent Postma 1-25, Jaremy Martin 1-10, Trey Shagren 1-1.