A pair of Northwest Conference forces met for the Class 2A State Championship, so a physical matchup was almost a given.
Lynden and Sedro-Woolley beat each other up with hard hits and bruising runs. Sedro-Woolley relied heavily on its rushing attack, taking 57 carries for 321 yards, often punching the ball right up the middle at Lynden’s linebackers in its 42-13 victory to claim its firsts state title on Saturday, Dec. 6, at the Tacoma Dome.
“Their offensive line was big,” Lynden linebacker/running back Trent Postma said. “They could get underneath you and get control of you. I felt like I would get held sometimes, but you can’t really look on that.”
Quinn Carpenter and Quinten Dickman-Roppel were the beneficiaries of the Cubs’ up-the-middle rushing attack, taking a combined 23 carries for 154 yards.
“They would find something on offense and run that same play repeatedly until we figured something out,” Lynden offensive and defensive lineman Bryce Sterk said.
The Cubs bit off 5- and6-yard gains repeatedly because of their running backs’ ability to absorb a hit and keep their legs moving.
Lynden’s offense was also the recipient of some heavy hitting. The Cubs got plenty of pentration and got to quarterback Sterling Somers for four sacks.
“They got a lot of pressure to Sterling,” Sterk said. “I was a little peeved at that. It’s frustrating to see your QB on the ground after the play.”
Lynden passed for 360 yards against Sedro-Woolley in the regular-season meeting between the two teams, but the Cubs limited the Lions’ effectiveness through the air on Saturday and intercepted five passes.
“They were really good against our pass plays,” Postma said. “I kind of figured they would be since we passed it so much against them earlier in the season. So they were all over that. They just did a really good job.”
Wittenberg returns for teammates
Lynden’s leading receiver, Jordan Wittenberg, was limited to four catches for 56 yards by Sedro-Woolley’s defense.
On a Sedro-Woolley interception to end the half, Wittenberg attempted to tackle Sedro-Woolley defensive back Anthony Cann. As he went in for the tackle, Wittenberg took a blind-side hit that jarred him and left him on the ground as time expired in the half.
“I don’t really remember clearly the rest of the play,” Wittenberg said. “I didn’t want to let my teammates down. There was a job to be done, and I wanted to be back on the field fighting every play. It meant everything (to go back in), nobody wants to sit out the state championship game.”
Wittenberg returned to play in the second half for the Lions.
Receivers support of Somers
Lynden quarterback Sterling Somers had a rough game, taking a handful of sacks and throwing four interceptions. But the Lions had nothing but support for their quarterback.
“He’s one of the toughest guys, a strong warrior,” Lynden wide receiver Scooter Hastings said. “I know he thinks he had a rough night, but we all have those days. I’m not mad at him at all. I love him to death. Hopefully he bounces back and gets one next year for us.”
Jonathan Whetnall, another Lynden receiver, echoed Hasting’s support of their quarterback.
Somers, just a junior, already has a state title under his belt from last season as the starter. He will be one of the leaders for the Lions that will have to help them try to make another run at the state title next year.
Somers completed 16 of 34 passes for 188 yards and scored a touchdown on the final play of the third quarter.
“I thought we had a great year,” Somers said, “but we didn’t reach our final goal. It sucks, but this is our goal.”