Considering the all-around standouts they are, Mount Baker’s football style doesn’t often let senior receiver/safety Thomas Barbo and junior quarterback/defensive back Kaleb Bass display the full range of their skills.
They picked a fine, but freezing Friday night night to display their potential with devastatingly efficient performances, as the Mountaineers claimed their sixth consecutive state playoff spot with a 45-15 win over King’s in the Class 1A Northwest District playoffs.
With the win, Mount Baker receives the district’s No. 2 seed and will travel to face the District 4 No. 2 seed, which appears to be La Center next weekend in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.
Friday’s game began in freezing temperatures, but Bass and Barbo were hot from the start.
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Bass’ 5-yard first-quarter run and Barbo’s 59-yard second-quarter touchdown catch from Bass gave Baker (7-3) a 17-0 lead following Roberto Garcia’s 22-yard field goal on Baker’s opening series.
Just the start
That was just the start for the often unsung duo.
Bass finished 8 for 14 for 175 yards and no interceptions, with three scoring passes, including a fourth-quarter 35-yarder to Barbo, who caught four passes for 135 yards. Bass came in with six touchdown passes.
Bass’ other scoring pass went to yet another unsung Mountaineer, senior receiver/cornerback Junior Camacho. With snow piled in the end zone as a “colorful” background thanks to a community snow removal effort, Camacho caught a 10-yard touchdown toss from Bass for his fourth score of the season.
“I wouldn’t want to be playing anywhere else,” Bass said. “We have outstanding running backs, linemen and we have Barbo.”
Lepper could say the same.
“Barbo (who has 48 catches for 773 yards) would really be huge in an offense that throws more than we do,” Lepper said. “I can’t say enough about him.”
Brandland, Engholm solid
As usual, senior running backs Carson Engholm and Carson Brandland combined to handle the ball the most often.
Brandland ran 14 times for 100 yards to help dominate King‘s (3-7), aiding in setting up all five scoring plays in the first half, though he did not score. He often got his satisfaction as a defensive standout at linebacker and recovered a fumble at the 5 to set up Bass’ rushing touchdown.
Engholm ran 16 times for 77 yards and Baker‘s third touchdown, a 1-yarder, while reaching 1,001 yards for the season.
Thrill for Kentner
Junior defensive back Michael Kentner provided a thrilling capper, when he stole the ball from a King’s runner and scored on a 25-yard return as the conditions continued to grow colder with six minutes to play.
Kobee Malone recovered a fumble on a punt to set up a score and Barbo and Engholm had interceptions.
Lepper grinned and said, “I think so” when asked if six consecutive playoff berth was a school record. “But they didn’t have state playoffs before 1972, or they probably would have had that many (at Baker).”