Galen Kaemingk could coach a lot longer and never see a lightning-like quarter such as he enjoyed in Lynden Christian’s first Northwest Conference Class 1A win this season.
But even seeing three touchdowns in two minutes may not have thrilled the coach as much as a methodical 12-play, 84-yard drive that began the Lyncs’ comeback toward a wild 48-20 victory over Nooksack Valley on Friday, Oct. 3.
Nooksack (2-3 overall, 0-2 NWC 1A) could not have looked much more efficient than the Pioneers did on a 12-play, 85-yard drive to open the second quarter.
Senior quarterback Tanner Myhre completed 6 of 6 passes for 74 yards, including 13-, 14- and 20-yard passes to Willy Kingman — who finished with nine catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns — and a 6-yard scoring pass to 220-pound running back Adam Mydland. It was the first score at LC for Mydland, a transfer from Meridian.
The Lyncs virtually duplicated that long drive, however, to score with 14 seconds left in the first half on a tackle-busting 18-yard run up by middle by Jake Van Berkum. Cody Fransen’s conversion kick produced a 7-all tie.
Junior quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender completed 6 of 9 passes for 60 yards to make LC’s drive possible, including a nifty 14-yarder on the right sideline to Nathan Rusnak to set up the score.
“That drive long was just huge for us,” said a visibly proud Kaemingk. “It really got us going and meant so much.”
In the third quarter, the Lyncs’ defense sparked what Kaemingk called “by far the best quarter of our season” for LC (4-1, 1-1), which scored 27 points in the wild period.
The memorable quarter began routinely enough, in a sense, with a 25-yard scoring run by team rushing leader Jordan Jansen, who took a pitch and weaved expertly into the end zone. It was the play of the night for Jansen, who rushed 18 times for a game-high 112 yards, and gave the Lyncs a 13-7 lead.
There was nothing routine for Jansen, however, when he returned an interception 12 yards on Nooksack’s next series. Along with a penalty on the play, it set up Roetcisoender’s 16-yard scramble and Van Berkum’s 8-yard scoring burst for a sudden 19-7 advantage.
On Nooksack’s first play after the kickoff, Blake Mellema scored on a 21-yard interception return for LC’s third score in that wild two-minute span. Alex Vander Velden’s two-point conversion catch from Roetcisoender mae it 27-7.
“Our whole defense, just our whole defense!” was all Kaemingk could say when asked for any names he was especially proud of. He did allow that it was Mellema’s biggest play.
As if that weren’t discouraging enough, LC’s Kaden Bratt and Van Berkum laid withering hits on Nooksack ball-carriers on the Pioneers’ next series, forcing a punt. Roetcisoender guided the Lyncs 61 yards on seven plays, including his 7-yard scoring run, for a 34-7 advantage in the third quarter.
Myhre — who passed for 244 yards and ran for 94 to surpass 7,000 yards combined passing and rushing in 2½ seasons as Nooksack’s quarterback — didn’t give up. He threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Kingma at the third-quarter gun following a 50-yard bomb to Connor Beard. Myhre also found Kingma with a 13-yard score with 7:30 remaining.
But Nooksack’s onside kick attempt went awry and LC needed to drive only 37 yards to give Berkum a chance for his third touchdown, following Roetcisoender’s 25-yard pass to Rusnak to the 1-yard line.
Roetcisoender — who came in 31 for 52 on the season for the balanced Lyncs — finished 13 for 23 for 159 yards without either an interception or a lost fumble in a nearly error-free effort. He found Rusnak six times for 71 yards and Vander Velden three times for 55.
The Lyncs finished with three second-half interceptions — Vander Velden added the last — to limit Myhre to 20 of 31 for 244 yards. Beard caught four for 76 yards to provide an alternative to the tireless Kingma.
Nooksack Valley — Adam Mydland 6 pass from Tanner Myhre (Connor Beard kick)
LC — Jake Van Berkum 18 run (Cody Fransen kick)
LC — Jordan Jansen 25 kick (kick failed)
LC — Van Berkum 8 run (pass failed)
LC — Blake Mellema 21 interception return (Alex Vander Velden pass from Lucas Roetcisoender)
LC — Roetcisoender 7 run (Fransen kick)
Nooksack Valley — Willy Kingma 15 pass from Myhre (Beard kick)
Nooksack Valley — Kingma 13 pass from Myhre (kick failed)
LC — Van Berkum 1 run (Fransen kick)
LC — Roetcisoender 1 run (Fransen kick)
RUSHING — LC: Jordan Jansen 18-112, Jake Van Berkum 5-30, Blake Mellema 6-23, Blake Browning 3-15, Lucas Roetcisoender 7-15, Nathan Rusnak 1-(minus 1), Kaden Bratt 1-16. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 15-94, Adam Mydland 6-27, Connor Beard 3-(minus 14), Joe McNeely 2-21.
PASSING — LC: Lucas Roetcisoender 13-23-159-0. Nooksack Valley: Tanner Myhre 20-31-244-3.
RECEIVING — LC: Nathan Rusnak 6-71, Alex Vander Velden 3-55, Blake Mellema 1-6, Kaden Bratt 1-4, Jake Van Berkum 1-18, Blake Browning 1-5. Nooksack Valley: Willy Kingma 9-133, Adam Mydland 3-27, Ryan Gelwicks 1-2, Connor Beard 4-76, Jacob Whitmer 3-6.