Even though Bellingham suffered a 49-18 2A NWC loss to state playoff contender Sedro-Woolley on Friday, Oct. 14, the Red Raiders appear to have a realistic shot at a winning season.
That would be a significant feat, considering Bellingham left the 2A ranks the past two seasons to rebuild its program with an independent schedule against mostly smaller schools.
“We feel we’ve shown we’re back as a competitive team in the Northwest Conference,” said 6-foot-4, 250-pound running back/wide receiver Joe Worley, referring to one of the state’s top 2A leagues.
Indeed, after the Red Raiders (3-4, 1-4 NWC) fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter during a torrential downpour in heavy winds, they played respectably in the final three quarters against the potent Cubs (5-2, 4-1), who appear ready to return to state in the wake of their 17-14 win over contender Burlington-Edison last week.
While pointing out how much work the young Red Raiders still face, coach Ted Flint readily acknowledged, “We’ve definitely improved.”
If Bellingham beats Anacortes and Lakewood and wins the crossover game in Week 10, a second consecutive winning season will be its reward.
Bellingham pulled within 21-6 on a 68-yard touchdown run by Connor Wallace, but the Red Raiders’ leading ground-gainer was injured on the first play of the second half and could not return. He finished with 84 yards on 10 carries.
Junior quarterback Nick Knutson, after a rough first half, displayed spirit and ability, finishing 14 of 29 for 166 yards with touchdown passes of 33 yards to sophomore Spencer Lee and 10 yards to Worley. Lee caught six passes for 105 yards, including grabs of 17, 26 and 33 yards in the third quarter.
Cubs run strong
As usual, Sedro-Woolley showed depth and talent in its running game with five players rushing for touchdowns. Noah Stroosma finished with 152 yards on 11 carries, including first-quarter scores of 65 yards and 6 yards. The Cubs rushed for 342 yards overall.
Quarterback Bryce Hornbeck and running backs Bryson Bartlett, Leo Hanna and Thomas Janicki also scored, along with Spencer Hoover, who returned an interception 45 yards for a 28-6 advantage late in the first half.
Worley runs hard
Worley, in only his second year of football, provided spirited runs of 9, 9 and 21 yards. The 21-yarder and Wallace’s long touchdown were Bellingham’s only rushes of more than 10 yards.
SW – Noah Stroosma 6 run (Adrian Vasquez kick)
SW – Bryce Hornbeck 1 run (Vasquez kick)
SW – Stroosma 65 run (Vasquez kick)
Bel – Connor Wallace 68 run (kick failed)
SW – Spencer Hoover 45 interception return (Vasquez kick)
SW – Bryson Bartlett 6 run (Vasquez kick)
Bel – Spencer Lee 33 pass from Nick Knutson (kick failed)
SW – Leo Hanna 4 run (Vasquez kick)
Bel – Joe Worley 10 pass from Knutson (pass failed)
SW – Thomas Janicki 22 run (Nathan Maylor kick)
RUSHING – Bellingham: Connor Wallace 10-84, Joe Worley 6-40, Levi DeYoung 5-23, Nick Knutson 3-(-19), Kelton Connors 1-2, Ethan Fields 2-(-1), Gabe Sherman 1-0. Sedro-Woolley: Noah Stroosma 11-152, Bryson Bartlett 9-64, Corey Wilson 4-52, Andrew Sager 2-15, Bryce Hornbeck 10-40, Durell Dickerson 2-(-1), Leo Hanna 3-20, Thomas Janicki 1-22.
PASSING – Bellingham: Nick Knutson 14-29-166-1; Sedro-Woolley: Bryce Hornbeck 2-4-27-0.
RECEIVING – Bellingham: Spencer Lee 6-105, Ethan Fields 5-36, Joe Worley 2-15, Ethan Berschauer 1-10. Sedro-Woolley: Spencer Hoover 2-27.