Northwest Conference play is nearly halfway completed, so here’s a look at where teams rank with roughly six games to play.
1. Squalicum (7-0-3, 4-0-2 NWC) -- The Storm hasn’t been beaten yet this season after going undefeated last year, so it’s plenty deserving of the top spot, but scoring has to be a concern. The Storm has only eight goals in six league games. Good thing its defense has only allowed one. Season-opening rank: 1.
2. Sedro-Woolley (6-3-0, 4-1-0) -- The Cubs may have lost to Anacortes but from No. 2 through No. 7 is all so equal so somebody has to take the second spot. The Cubs get the nod for being the highest-scoring team in the league, even if that’s been bolstered by a 10-goal game against Ferndale. Season-opening rank: 7
3. Burlington-Edison (8-2-0, 5-1-0) -- The Tigers currently sit atop the NWC standings and have been impressive this year. Aside from two games in which they allowed three goals apiece, this defense has been stout. Several tough opponents remain on the slate though and it’s not going to be easy to stay in the top spot. Season-opening rank: 5
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4. Nooksack Valley (8-2-0, 4-2-0) -- What a shock it’s been to see the Pioneers do so well to start the year, but taking a closer look at Nooksack, it shouldn’t have been a surprise. The team has 12 seniors and can score from anywhere. They’re athletic, fast and organized. Lynden, Sedro-Woolley and Anacortes all remain on the schedule but don’t be surprised to see Nooksack take some wins. Season-opening rank: 9
5. Anacortes (5-2-2, 3-2-0) -- A pair of tough losses to Squalicum and Burlington-Edison shouldn’t discourage the Seahawks. This is a team with a lot of talent, a team that just beat Sedro-Woolley. Season-opening rank: 3
6. Bellingham (4-2-4, 3-12) -- This team’s been up and down this season. Some good results include a 2-0 win over Sehome, a 0-0 tie with Anacortes and Squalicum, a 2-0 win over Nooksack but the Red Raiders balanced that with a 1-0 loss to Sehome, a 4-0 loss to Squalicum and a 1-1 tie with Ferndale. Don’t know what to make of Bellingham. Season-opening rank: 4
7. Sehome (3-3-3, 2-2-2) -- I thought this team would do really well this season and so did coach John Sylvester, but injuries have derailed the Mariners and with so much shifting of positions, the Mariners lack the chemistry that Sylvester boasted about at the beginning of the season. When Sehome is on and healthy, it is probably the second-best, if not the best, team in the league. When the Mariners are off, they end up tying Mount Baker and losing 5-1 to Nooksack Valley. Season-opening rank: 2
8. Lynden (6-4-0, 4-2-0) -- The meat of the schedule still awaits the Lions but man can they score. Nicolas Parris leads the league in both goals and assists as the Lions average nearly three goals a game. Season-opening rank: 6
9. Lynden Christian (4-5-0, 2-3-0) -- The Lyncs can’t quite keep up with the best teams in the league but are good enough to beat the weaker teams. They’re certainly the second-best Class 1A team. Season-opening rank: 11
10. Ferndale (2-5-2, 1-3-1) -- This team has shown a lot of improvement this year and it looked like the Golden Eagles were cruising on the right track after a tie with Bellingham and a win over Lynden, but then came a 10-1 loss to Sedro-Woolley. Squalicum, Nooksack Valley and Burlington-Edison are the Golden Eagles next three games and that’s no easy way to get back on track. Season-opening rank: 13
11. Blaine (3-7-0, 0-6-0) -- The Borderites get No. 11 because of their two victories over Meridian and Mount Baker to start the season, but Blaine is just 1-7 since. The good news is three 1A schools are still on the slate so the Borderites can still make a playoff push. Season-opening rank: 10
12. Meridian (2-6-1, 0-5-0) -- There are definitely some positives to draw from what’s been a rough season for the Trojans. They only lost by one to LC, Sedro-Woolley and Blaine. They’re close, but not quite there. Season-opening rank: 12
13. Mount Baker (1-7-1, 0-4-1) -- The Mountaineers are short on bodies, but have flashed some promise. A 4-4 tie to Sehome is a good sign as well as the 2-1 win over Lynden Christian. Season-opening rank: 8