The season opener for Nooksack Valley and Blaine did not disappoint as both teams battled back and forth. Host Blaine prevailed 35-21 after two mistakes caught up to the Pioneers on Friday.
The Pioneers took a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter and looked to be headed to halftime with a 14-point lead. Instead, Blaine completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ball to narrow the gap to seven before halftime.
Ball caught two more touchdown passes in the second half to give the Borderites a 28-21 lead. Running back Riley Fritsch then scampered for a 52-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to clinch the win.
“It was a good win for us,” Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. “But we still have a lot of work to do to improve this season.”
Star of the game
Ball caught 11 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his touchdowns came on extremely impressive jump-ball receptions. He was easily Blaine’s favorite target. He also had a key interception in the third quarter in the Pioneers’ end zone.
Up 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, the Borderites had possession. Nooksack Valley had to get a stop to get the ball back and try to tie the score, but Fritsch ran for a 52-yard touchdown to ice the game for Blaine.
Play of the Night
With Nooksack Valley on the Blaine 1 in the third quarter , the Borderites stopped the Pioneers and stripped quarterback Casey Bauman. Blaine recovered the ball in a pile of bodies to preserve its 28-21 lead.
What it means
The Pioneers kept up with the Borderites for most of the game, even leading 14-0 after the first quarter. Despite losing, Nooksack Valley looks to be headed in the right direction.
NV— Tre Silva 7 run (Colton Kautz kick)
NV— Colton Kautz 10 run (Colton Kautz kick)
BL- Colby Knutzen 12 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
NV- Colton Kautz 9 run from Casey Bauman (Colton Kautz kick)
BL- Anthony Ball 67 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL — Anthony Ball 15 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL — Anthony Ball 22 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL- Riley Fritsch 52 run (Kyle Sentowski kick)
RUSHING – Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 20-69, Tre Silva 6-38, Colton Kautz 10-36, Evan Neitling 1-0 . Blaine: Riley Fritsch 17-151, Jalen Kortlever 6-14, Garrett Adams 1-1
PASSING – Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 23-39-1-255 Blaine: Jalen Kortlever 20-29-0-287
RECEIVING – Nooksack Valley: Kyle Veldman 8-75, Michael O’Bryan 7-72, Colton Kautz 2-65, Tre Silva 5-38, Austin O’Bryan 1-5 Blaine: Austin Ball 11-222, Chase Abshere 2-22, Colby Knutzen 3-17, Gunnar Arnason 2-17, Haden Anthony 1-8, Riley Fritsch 1-1