A fast and explosive start for Bellingham carried the Red Raiders all the way to their first victory in three years, topping the Charles Wright Tarriers 47-30 on Friday, Sept. 26 at Charles Wright High School.
It was a night where quarterbacks Kyle Hofstetter and Kalien Hayes could rest their arms as the majority of plays were run by senior tailback Tanner Aliff.
Aliff finished the night with 449 rushing yards and seven touchdowns as he lead the Red Raiders.
“It was actually mostly a blur,” Aliff said. “I felt good. I felt like I was making progress for the team. I felt like I was pushing my team forward, going the extra stretch to get down the line and take home a win finally.”
The senior led his team on offense, but also had a good supporting cast of running backs to help back him up.
Senior running back Jacob Thompson earned 42 hard yards on the ground and Hayes showed flashes of brilliance scrambling for 21 yards.
In a game where the Red Raiders showed only one dimension of their team, players showed a toughness that kept the momentum going for them well into the fourth quarter.
“This is the turning point we have been wanting,” Aliff said. “We came out here to win and we threw away the past losses and we knew it was going to be hard. I told our guys last week that we have to push through it.”
And it wasn't just the offense that came up big for the Red Raiders, either, as the defense stepped up and made key stops on momentous drives for Charles Wright.
“The defense responded when it had to,” Bellingham coach Ted Flint said. “They played together when they needed to.”
Flint also added that the play of senior linemen Luke Moreau, Blair Bennett, Spencer Marshall-Rodenberg, Eli Ninnemann and junior Trent Helming was a key part to their victory. Their blocking was the reason that Aliff and the rest of the running backs were able to get so many yards.
The Red Raiders play their next game on Friday, October 3 at home against Friday Harbor.