In just 12 minutes, 12 seconds on Friday, Sept. 12, Nooksack Valley quarterback Tanner Myhre had equaled his incompletion total from last week’s win over Anacortes. He was just 2 for 5 for 26 yards in the air.
It looked like it was going to be a rough day for the Pioneers. Montesano had a small 3-0 lead but were beating down the Pioneers offense.
The problem with trying to stop Myhre and the Nooksack offense though? It’s extremely difficult to do for 48 minutes.
Myhre would go on to throw for 280 yards, rush for 148 and score five touchdowns. The Pioneers would win 40-34.
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“We’ve shown a lot of perseverance, a lot of fight,” Nooksack’s William Kingma said. “This was huge.”
It was a Nooksack Valley offense that rolled down the field time after time that got the Pioneers a close non-conference win to improve their record to 2-0, but the defense was the only reason they were still in the game.
Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs were sitting on the 2-yard line, waiting to punch the ball in. Kingma had other ideas. After hitting the Bulldog back behind the line, he ripped the ball away and started running down the field. He was tackled quickly, but touchdown saved, Pioneers ball.
“I went in there to help with the tackle and just saw the ball and ripped it out,” Kingma said.
Nooksack Valley would drive 97 yards capped off by a Myhre run from a yard out to give the Pioneers a 6-3 lead.
It was the bend but don’t break defense that held the Bulldogs to three lengthy field goal tries in the game, one of which was blocked. The other two were successful.
“We’ve got good solid players there,” coach Robb Myhre said. “Our defense did a nice job out there. In the first half especially.”
So while, it’s easy to look at what the offense accomplished – 40 points and 428 yards – the Pioneers defense deserves a huge pat on the back. Montesano still scored 34 points and piled up 320 yards but it could have been so much more.
The damage early came from Montesano’s back Anthony Louthan, who picked up 144 yards on the ground and two touchdowns in the first half. His second half stats? Not so stellar. He had zero yards on six carries – once again credit to the Pioneers defense.
The entire game resembled more of a conference rivalry game than a nonconference preseason contest, with both teams trading blows.
Montesano struck first with a 36-yard kick from Louthan, who had plenty of room to spare. Tanner Myhre responded with his first touchdown to make it 6-3.
Montesano scored less than a minute later on a 48-yard run from Louthan to make it 10-6.
On the Pioneers next possession, they went 21 yards in 3 minutes, 12 seconds and scored on a 10-yard TD pass from Myhre to Kingma, making it 13-10.
But the Bulldogs refused to roll over, scoring 62 seconds later on a Louthan six-yard rushing touchdown two plays after he busted a 51-yard gain. At the half, Montesano led 17-13.
Nooksack’s lone turnover in the game came immediately after the half as Myhre’s first pass out of the lockers was intercepted. But the Pioneers defense held strong, forcing a 26-yard field goal off the foot of Louthan to keep it a one score game, 20-13.
Enter Myhre and company. A beautiful 35-yard pass two possessions later to Connor Beard put the Pioneers at the one-yard line, just enough room for Myhre to run it in to tie the game at 20.
On the next possession for the Pioneers, following a blocked 41-yard field goal try from the Bulldogs, Myhre took two plays to find the end zone yet again.
The first play was a 44-yard pass to Kingma as Myhre was being hit. The second was a 21-yard run from the quarterback himself.
The Pioneers scored on their very next possession, going 74 yards to make it 34-20.
From there, the Bulldogs would make a late charge, scoring two touchdowns in the final 6:36, but a Curtis Handy seven-yard run with 2:02 left put the game out of reach.
Nooksack Valley finishes its non-conference play against Cascade Christian on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Sunset Stadium.