Blaine at Burlington-Edison
Time: 7 p.m.
Borderites (6-2, 4-2 2A NWC) update: Blaine secured a tie for a 2A Northwest District playoff spot with an impressive 48-0 win over Sehome last week. A win this week would secure for the Borderites the league’s third seed in the 2A Northwest District playoffs, while a loss would either drop them to fourth or into a three-way tie for third. Blaine had three backs runs for at least 70 yards and score a TD last week – Riley Fritsch (89 yards, two TDs), Garrett Adams (74 yards, TD) and Julian Gonzalez (71 yards, TD).
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Tigers (5-2, 3-2) update: After coming back to tie the score in the fourth quarter, Burlington-Edison allowed 14 unanswered point in a 31-17 loss at Lynden. Hunter Anderson leads Skagit County with 1,039 yards and 15 touchdowns passing, but the Lions held him to 110 yards. Anderson also led a running game that managed just 90 yards last week. Burlington, which still needs to conclude its Sept. 23 game against Lakewood on Tuesday, Nov. 1, can claim the league’s third seed if it wins out.
Key to the game: Since losing to Lynden in Week 6, the Borderites have allowed only one garbage-time touchdown to Lakewood in Week 7. The Blaine defense has surrendered 166 total yards the last two weeks combined, including just 30 last week. Another performance like that will clinch the program’s first playoff appearance in three years.
Player to watch: Tucker Jensen is a vocal and inspirational leader for Blaine at inside linebacker. He’s helped the Borderites play their best defensive games the past two weeks, and they need another strong performance Thursday.
Herald pick: Blaine 27-21
Bellingham at Lakewood
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Lakewood High School
Red Raiders (4-4, 2-4 2A NWC) update: Bellingham forced seven turnovers and kept alive its hopes for a second consecutive winning season with a 32-14 win over Anacortes. Bellingham did not have a particularly good game running the ball, managing just 34 yards on 21 carries, though the Red Raiders did get touchdown runs from Nick Knutson and Ethan Fields. Knutson threw for 202 yards – the second time he’s thrown for at least 200 yards this year – and three touchdowns to different receivers.
Cougars (2-5, 2-3) update: Lakewood saw its playoff hopes put on life support, as it dropped its second straight 41-21 to Sedro-Woolley. After falling behind early, the Cougars came back to make it 10-7 but allowed the Cubs 31 straight points. Quarterback Austin Lane threw two short touchdown passes to Taylor Tresch and Jon Cox in the fourth quarter. Matt Ramirez also scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter. Lakewood needs to win this game and Tuesday, Nov. 1, against Burlington-Edison to keep its playoff hopes alive.
Key to the game: Bellingham should be able to put points on the board – Lakewood has surrendered 40 or more in five of seven games. The Red Raiders surpassed 30 for the second time in last week’s win.
Player to watch: Ethan Fields has been a threat running (257 yards, three TDs) and receiving (242 yards, two TDs) for the Red Raiders.
Herald pick: Bellingham 24-17
Squalicum at Arlington
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Arlington High School
Storm (8-0, 5-0 3A Wesco North) update: In its first year in the league, Squalicum wrapped up the 3A Wesco North Division title with a 47-42 win over Ferndale, marking the second straight year the second-ranked Storm has won its league title. For the second straight week, Triston Smith rushed for more than 200 yards and scored at least three TDs. Ben Peterson made his only reception of the game a memorable one, diving to haul in a 10-yard TD in the corner of the end zone. He also booted his first two field goals of the year.
Eagles (3-5, 2-3) update: Arlington’s hopes of making the 3A quad-district playoffs took a serious hit when it had a punt blocked, allowed a touchdown and a game-winning 2-point conversion and fumbled away its own chances at late-game heroics in the final 25 seconds of a 22-21 loss at Oak Harbor. The Eagles allowed Princeton Lollar to rush for 162 yards, two TDs and two 2-point conversions. Quarterback Anthony Whitis threw for 239 yards, but the Eagles lost four fumbles, two of which set up Oak Harbor scores.
Key to the game: Squalicum has the division title clinched and will receive the Wesco’s No. 2 seed to the 3A quad-district playoffs next week. The most important things for the Storm is to remain healthy and keep its momentum rolling. Arlington, meanwhile, desperately needs a win to move on.
Player to watch: Squalicum’s Damek Mitchell certainly seemed to be the targeted man for Squalicum last week, as he made 10 of the Storm’s 13 receptions for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
Herald pick: Squalicum 45-20