Through five weeks of Friday night football picks my record stands at 33-12. Last week I went 6-2, picking incorrectly both Friday Harbor to beat Bellingham and Nooksack Valley to beat Lynden Christian. Well, the Red Raiders won their second straight game, and a Lynden Christian’s 27-point third quarter was the end of my Nooksack Valley pick.
At this point we know who are the premier teams in the Northwest Conference’s 2A/3A classification. That honor belongs to No. 1-ranked and undefeated Lynden as well as No. 7-ranked and undefeated Sedro-Woolley. The two teams meet two weeks from today, and the outcome should determine the league champion. But what this week gives us will be a good look at who will gain the inside track on the final two postseason berths in Class 2A. Removing 1-4 Anacortes leaves Blaine (1-2 NWC 2A/3A), Burlington-Edison (1-2), Squalicum (1-2) and Sehome (1-2) vying for those coveted spots. The Borderites should have little trouble dispatching Anacortes, but Squalicum, Burlington-Edison and Sehome each have tough matchups. Here is a look at how I see things shaping up tonight:
Blaine (3-2, 1-2 NWC 2A/3A) at Anacortes (1-4, 0-3 NWC 2A/3A)
Unfortunately for the Seahawks, they get to be the first team Blaine plays coming off a tough 30-point home loss to Sedro-Woolley last week. Undoubtedly, the Borderites will be fired up to get back in the win column and put last week’s disaster behind them. And I fully expect Blaine to bounce back nicely. Nate Kramme struggled throwing the ball last week, but look for him to get back on track against Anacortes’ vulnerable pass defense. I expect some big plays through the air and a whole lot of running back Riley Fritsch, who ranks third in the Northwest Conference in rushing.
Lynden (5-0, 3-0 NWC 2A/3A) at Burlington-Edison (3-2, 1-2 NWC 2A/3A)
Even with a tough road game against a Tigers team that has impressed for the most part this season, it’s hard to even imagine Lynden losing a game. Lucas Petersen was outstanding a week ago, doing a bit of everything for the Lions, and unless Trent Postma is back to full heath, Petersen again should see plenty of touches. Burlington-Edison’s defense was one of the best through the first four weeks, but Squalicum’s passing game exposed the Tigers a bit. Sterling Somers is one of the best in the Northwest Conference and, like Christian Jorgensen last week, he should be able to find ample pass-catching targets. The Tigers are strong enough to hand, but evenually the Lions pull away.
Sedro-Woolley (5-0, 3-0 NWC 2A/3A) at Sehome (2-3, 1-2 NWC 2A/3A)
The Mariners may look back at the end of the season and kick themselves for their costly one-point loss to Blaine in Week 4. Sehome, who was the league’s big surprise last fall by reaching state, is in serious jeopardy of falling to 1-3 in conference play. It’s wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but it would hurt nonetheless. Sedro-Woolley can flat out play. It uses a plethora of running backs on offense and has the best run defense, and maybe best defensive unit as a whole, in the Northwest Conference. The Mariners will need Division I prospect Taylor Rapp to be at his finest if Sehome is hand the Cubs their first loss.
Squalicum (3-2, 1-2 NWC 2A/3A) at Ferndale (2-3, 2-1 NWC 2A/3A)
In my opinion, this may be the game of the week. It features a spread out pass-heavy Storm offense against a ground-and-pound Ferndale attack. Squalicum’s offense looked much better last week putting up 38 points than it did a week earlier, when it managed a single touchdown against Sedro-Woolley. Ferndale also looked strong last week against Anacortes, running for 520 yards while allowing on 62 rush yards. It will be interesting to see if the Storm can play a tougher style of ball to match Ferndale, but I think Squalicum has the players on defense to hang with the Golden Eagles’ rush game. Should be a fun one, but I’m going with Squalicum by a score.
Mount Baker (4-1, 2-0 NWC 1A) at Lynden Christian (4-1, 1-1 NWC 1A)
Coach Ron Lepper has gotten his relatively inexperienced group of Mountaineers to play Baker football. They exuded a certain level of toughness and showed tremendous resiliency last week against Meridian. Mount Baker doesn’t have a bunch of big names, outside Liam Short, but its playing together and has ripped off four straight wins because of it. Lynden Christian surprised me last week. I’m not surprised LC beat Nooksack Valley, although I picked the Pioneers to win, but I was shocked by how much the Lyncs won by. Still, Mount Baker seems to be onto something, and I see the Mountaineers added league win No. 3 this week.
Nooksack Valley (2-3, 0-2 NWC 1A) at Meridian (3-2, 1-1 NWC 1A)
The Trojans were oh-so close to getting a huge road win last week at Mount Baker. Meridian led by 12 points at half, but couldn’t hold off a late Mountaineer rally. Meridian’s pass game looked great, and this one against Nooksack Valley could very well be a shootout. The Pioneers have suffered some injury setbacks, and coach Robb Myhre made it clear at the beginning of season that his team is talented but thin enough it has to stay healthy. I anticipate a high scoring game, and in the end Meridian finds a way to get it done.
Bellingham (2-3) at Bellevue Christian (0-5)
After a blowout win two weeks ago, the Red Raiders found a way to win close last week with their 21-19 home victory over Friday Harbor. Bellingham is catching momentum, and it doesn’t stop this week against lowly Bellevue Christian. Bellevue Christian is allowing an average of 35.2 points per game and has only scored 35 points total. Look for Tanner Aliff to continue his torrid pace and for the Red Raiders to improve to .500 with their third straight win.
Check back next week for my Week 7 predictions.
|Week 5 Picks/Results|
|Matchup||My prediction||Actual score|
|Friday Harbor at Bellingham||Friday Harbor 28-17||Bellingham 21-19|
|Ferndale at Anacortes||Ferndale 42-14||Ferndale 49-14|
|Sehome at Lynden||Lynden 38-17||Lynden 35-17|
|Lynden Christian at Nooksack Valley||Nooksack Valley 27-17||Lynden Christian 48-20|
|Meridian at Mount Baker||Mount Baker 20-14||Mount Baker 33-25|
|Sedro-Woolley at Blaine||Sedro-Woolley 24-10||Sedro-Wolley 37-7|
|Burlington-Edison at Squalicum||Squalicum 17-14||Squalicum 38-28|
|Clallam Bay at Lummi||Lummi 46-32||Lummi 65-30|