A major question heading into Squalicum’s matchup with Ferndale on Friday night, Oct. 10, in Ferndale, was the ability of the Storm’s defense to match the Golden Eagles’ physical-style offense.
Powerful back Marcus Nightingale still got his yards. He ran for 196 yards and a TD on 30 carries, but Squalicum’s defense rose up when it needed to.
Five times the Golden Eagles reached the Storm’s red zone, and Ferndale came away with only 10 points.
Squalicum first stopped Nightingale short on a fourth-and-2 on the Storm 17 early in the second quarter. Later in the third, Squalicum’s defense held Ferndale quarterback Kyler Schemstad for no gain on a fourth-and-6 on the Storm 15 and finally on another fourth-and-6 on the Storm 15 early in the fourth, Squalicum prevented the Golden Eagles from converting.
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Jordan Campbell, Jake Burns and Jack Wendling were just a few defenders who played large roles in the win.
“Marcus is a hard-hitter,” Campbell said. “I know he knocked me down a couple times, but you know, we just hit him back. Everybody goes down. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Lynden uses array of players in win
After watching Lynden’s thrilling 23-21 last-minute victory over Burlington-Edison, 6-foot-7, 220-pound wide receiver Scooter Hastings hungers for a lot more wins.
Hastings had to watch from the sidelines, along with four other Lynden regulars, as the defending Class 2A football champions extended its win streak to 33.
“I think I’ll be ready for the next game,” said Hastings, referring to the Lions’ home game against rival Ferndale on Friday, Oct. 17.
Hastings, who has been out with leg injuries after participating in the vast majority of those consecutive wins, wasn’t the only standout receiver to miss the game. Senior pass-catcher Lucas Petersen, along with three other regulars, couldn’t play.
If those two return soon, 6-foot-5 junior quarterback Sterling Somers will be thrilled to have so much more help. As it was, he completed seven passes to Jordan Wittenberg for 108 yards and one touchdown and five passes for 87 yards to Jonathan Whetnall, who helped a lot in the second half when the Tigers applied their defensive focus to Wittenberg.
Somers also found yet another receiver in running back Trent Postma, whose state track meet caliber speed enabled him to get wide open for a 24-yard fourth-quarter touchdown catch.
The Lions also used versatile 6-3 senior transfer Clark Hazlett — a senior who played the previous three years at quarterback for Squalicum — as a receiver in the second half, although no balls came his way. Hazlett serves as a dependable starting free safety and as the punter.
In fact, Hazlett prevented immediate disaster in the second quarter when he leaped like the basketball player he also is to snap a high punt snap in the second quarter. He got off a kick in the shadow of his own end zone, but the Tigers needed to drive only 27 yards to score.
Throughout the game, Lynden’s sideline made a huge volume of noise when the Tigers had the ball, trying to district them as much as possible. Burlington quarterback Mason Schwetz had no interceptions or fumbles, however.
Nonetheless, Lynden’s noise still may create a Seattle Seahawks’ type effect at some point. At any rate, the Lions showed they were constantly aware of what was going on.
Baker’s run game proving unstoppable
In a very competitive Northwest Conference 1A division, there’s become one near certainty — Mount Baker’s rushing attack.
The Mountaineers only threw once in Friday’s 31-20 win over Lynden Christian while running the ball 48 times.
During the three 1A games, all of which the Mountaineers have won, Mount Baker has compiled 140 rushing attempts compared to only 19 throws.
Much of the work falls on the shoulders of Liam Short, who has ran the ball 69 of the 140 total carries while compiling 505 yards in 1A play.
The Mountaineers have totaled 870 rushing yards as a team, which means Short has picked up 58 percent of Mount Baker’s rushing yards the past three weeks and gets his number called on nearly half the rushing plays as the Mountaineers use him to set up the speedier Zach Yurchuk and Jed Schleimer.
All of this, and the back admits he’s still not fully healthy after missing the first two games due to a minor offseason knee surgery.
“I’m still coming back from my knee injury that’s a little tough,” Short said. “It’s just what I got to do. My linemen, they get beat up just as much as I do. It’s just what I got to do for the team.”
Blaine wins in the trenches
Riley Fritsch and the Blaine football team ran all over Anacortes to the tune of 292 team rushing yards and a 31-19 Northwest Conference win on Friday, Oct. 10, at Anacortes.
But it was the defensive pressure and containment that helped Blaine build an insurmountable lead.
The Borderites had taken one man out of their typical seven-men-in-the-box scheme and put him in the secondary to account for dangerous Anacortes receiver Ty Johnson. Johnson still got his catches, grabbing four for 82 yards, but it was what Blaine was able to do in the running defense that stood out.
With less men in the box than usual, Blaine held Anacortes to just 65 rushing yards on 20 carries as a team.
Defensive back Nathan Kramme was in on more than a few of those stops, often as the second man in on a tackle to stop a runner from breaking free off the first attempt to stop him.
“Honestly, I’m looking to play football,” Kramme said when asked if he was looking to help in the run defense. “If they’re going to run, I’m looking to stop the run. If they pass, I want to stop the pass.”
It also started up front on both sides of the ball for Blaine. The defensive line created so much pressure that the pocket seemed to collapse almost immediately after the snap to Anacortes quarterback Camden McLaughlin. And on offense, the line powered ahead and opened up big holes for Fritsch and the other Borderite rushers.
After a blowout loss to Sedro-Woolley last week, Blaine put itself back on the edge of the 2A NWC playoff picture with the big win.
Call him ‘Jonny Excitement’
With Sehome’s ball-control game plan against Sedro-Woolley on Friday night, Mariners coach Bob Norvell was ready to take a few gambles on fourth down.
But senior punter Jonny Reid took it to a whole new level.
Facing fourth-and-22 from its own 41 late in the first quarter, the Mariners sent in the punt team. Reid, who has a rugby background from his days growing up in Ireland, boot legged to his right and appeared ready to put a foot into the ball.
But when he saw open field down the right sideline, he decided to take off. Though the first 15 yards came pretty easy, Reid had to pull a pirouette to avoid one Cubs defender and dove to the Sedro-Woolley 35 — 2 yards further than the line to make.
“Jonny always has the green light if it’s there as he’s rolling out there to punt,” Sehome coach Bob Norvell said of the 24-yard fake-punt run. “Personally, I don’t know if I would have done that — fourth-and-40 or whatever that thing was. That was a great run. He’s just a competitive player.”
He’s also able to use both feet for more than running.
In the second quarter, Reid rolled left and got off a left-footed punt.
Nooksack’s run game nonexistent
The running game for the Nooksack Valley Pioneers against the Meridian Trojans was nonexistent in the 43-15 loss on Friday, Oct. 10.
A game that was pass heavy on offense for the Pioneers may have been due to the lack of production in the running game. Out of the 17 times Nooksack Valley elected to run the ball, only four of the plays went for positive yardage. The Pioneers total offense on the ground was a disappointing negative 18 yards.
Next week Nooksack Valley goes up against Mount Baker which played each other on Oct. 3 in a game Nooksack Valley lost 24-14.
In the previous matchup, the Pioneers were only able to accumulate 49 yards running the ball. The running game for Nooksack Valley will need to be more productive next week in order for the Pioneers to come out of next week’s game with a win.