High School Football

First Friday of October features crucial 1A NWC, 2A NWC battles

Mount Baker’s Thomas Barbo brings in a reception over the head of Meridian’s Simon Burkett in October 2015. The Mountaineers and Trojans face each for the first time this year Friday, Oct. 7, at Deming.
Mount Baker’s Thomas Barbo brings in a reception over the head of Meridian’s Simon Burkett in October 2015. The Mountaineers and Trojans face each for the first time this year Friday, Oct. 7, at Deming. The Bellingham Herald

Sehome at Bellingham

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Civic Stadium

Mariners (0-5, 0-3 2A NWC) update: Sehome dropped its 12th straight, dating back to 2015, with a 42-7 loss at Sedro-Woolley last week. Marcus Montag’s scoop-and-score fumble return gave him a team-leading four touchdowns this season, but it resulted in the only points the Mariners mustered in the game. Through four weeks, Montag had compiled 408 total yards of offense – nearly half (44.6 percent) Sehome’s 914.

Red Raiders (2-3, 0-3 2A NWC) update: Bellingham lost its third straight with a 44-14 setback against Burlington-Edison last week. The Red Raiders passed for a season-high 263 yards but threw four interceptions. Spencer Lee snared eight passes for 94 yards and a touchdowns, while Connor Wallace backed up his 137-yard output in Week 4 with 89 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

Key to the game: The Red Raiders are still seeking their first Northwest Conference victory since 2012, when they beat Anacortes. Winless Sehome presents as good an opportunity as any to get that win.

Player to watch: Bellingham quarterback Nick Knutson threw for 251 yards last week but must cut down on the three interceptions to give Bellingham a chance to win.

Herald prediction: Bellingham 35-14.

Blaine at Lynden

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Lynden High School

Borderites (4-1, 2-1 2A NWC) update: Blaine held off Anacortes’ second-half rally to win its second straight 28-21 last week. Whatcom County receiving leader Anthony Ball added 151 yards and a touchdown to his totals on six receptions, as Jalen Kortlever passed for 229 yards and two scores. Riley Fritsch surpassed the century mark for the third straight week, rushing for 135 yards and two TDs.

Lions (4-1, 3-0 2A NWC) update: No. 6 Lynden remained perfect in 2A NWC play with a 54-26 win at Lakewood last week. For the third straight week, quarterback Jacob Hommes rushed and passed for more than 100 yards in the game – he ran for 120 yards and two TDs and threw for 129 yards and two more scores. Brody Weinheimer also had a nice game on the ground, rushing for 89 yards and a TD on 13 attempts.

Key to the game: Blaine has thrust itself back into the 2A NWC playoff race with two straight wins after a league-opening loss to Sedro-Woolley in Week 3.

Player to watch: Lynden receiver Aaron Weidenaar had his first 100-yard game of the year, catching three balls for 121 yards and two touchdowns last week against Lakewood.

Herald prediction: Lynden 34-21.

Meridian at Mount Baker

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Mount Baker High School

Trojans (2-3, 1-1 1A NWC) update: Meridian suffered its first 1A NWC loss of the season 47-34 at Nooksack Valley last week. Simon Burkett threw for 272 yards and a touchdown and was one of three Meridian backs to rush for more than 40 yards and score a touchdown. Tony Schleimer had 69 yards and a TD on 15 carries, while Cole Roberts rushed for 43 yards and two scores.

Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 1A NWC) update: No. 3 Mount Baker jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 51-7 1A NWC win over Lynden Christian last week. The Mountaineers rushed for 419 yards and seven touchdowns, led by Carson Engholm’s 174 yards and four scores on 15 attempts. The Mount Baker defense also had a nice game, limiting the Lyncs to 125 yards total offense.

Key to the game: After the loss to Nooksack Valley, it will get tougher for the Trojans against unbeaten Mount Baker.

Player to watch: Mount Baker’s Whatcom County rushing leader Jed Schleimer amassed 145 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries this week, and you can bet he wants bragging rights in the first “Schleimer Bowl” Friday.

Herald prediction: Mount Baker 38-21.

Nooksack Valley at Lynden Christian

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Lynden Christian School

Pioneers (3-2, 1-1 1A NWC) update: Nooksack Valley ended a six-game 1A NWC losing streak with its 47-34 win over Meridian last week. Whatcom County passing leader Casey Bauman threw for 282 yards and a season-high five touchdowns. As if that weren’t enough, he rushed for a team-high 160 yards and scored a touchdown. Kyle Veldman snared two of Bauman’s TD throws, while the Pioneers piled up 616 yards of total offense.

Lyncs (1-4, 0-2 1A NWC) update: Lynden Christian had no answer for Mount Baker in a 51-7 1A NWC loss last week. The Lyncs were held to 28 yards rushing on just 2.0 yards per attempt. Quarterback Colby Flint was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass for LC’s only points of the game. He also threw for 80 yards, with Tyson Cline catching three passes for 29 yards.

Key to the game: Nooksack Valley put itself in the driver’s seat in the race for the second 1A NWC postseason berth this year with last week’s win. The Pioneers don’t want to give up that advantage.

Player to watch: Pioneers running back Colton Kautz was a dual threat last week, rushing for 125 yards and a TD on 21 attempts and catching four passes for a team-high 157 yards and three TDs.

Herald prediction: Nooksack Valley 31-17.

Ferndale at Stanwood

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Stanwood High School

Golden Eagles (5-0, 2-0 3A Wesco North) update: No. 4 Ferndale rolled to a 49-7 3A Wesco North victory over Marysville-Pilchuck last week. For the second straight week, the Golden Eagles piled up 310 yards on the ground. They added six touchdowns, as Justice Powell and Ben Broselle each scored two. Cole Semu and Bryan Ebe scored the other two. Ferndale is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt this season.

Spartans (2-3, 1-2 3A Wesco North) update: Stanwood picked up its first 3A Wesco North win 35-12 over Marysville-Getchell last week. Defensive back Payton Greene’s first-quarter interception return for a touchdown set the tone for the Spartans. Quarterback Karl DeBoer threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns. Gavin Schweitzer was his top receiver with 97 yards on four catches.

Key to the game: Ferndale’s schedule gets much more difficult with back-to-back games against Oak Harbor and Squalicum. It’s important the Golden Eagles stay healthy and make sure their offense and defense keep clicking.

Player to watch: Though Ferndale has rushed for nearly three times as many yards (1,561) this season as they’ve passed, don’t fall asleep on quarterback James Hinson, who has thrown for nine touchdowns against three interceptions.

Herald prediction: Ferndale 42-10.

Squalicum at Emerald Ridge

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Sparks Stadium, Puyallup

Storm (5-0) update: No. 3 Squalicum scored on the first play from scrimmage and didn’t look back in a 47-20 win over Oak Harbor in a top-10 showdown last week. Since returning from injury in Week 4, Garrett Sorenson has passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Playmaker Ben Peterson rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns on just eight carries last week, while Triston Smith had 43 yards on eight carries.

Jaguars (2-3) update: Emerald Ridge ended a two-game losing streak with a 49-12 4A South Puget Sound League win over Puyallup Rogers last week, claiming the “King of the Hill” trophy. Logan Skoda threw for 266 yards and five touchdowns – four in the first half.

Key to the game: It’s a little bit weird having a nonleague game in the middle of the 3A Wesco North schedule, but Squalicum can use the chance to tighten a few things up, such as a run defense that allowed 341 yards and three TDs last week.

Player to watch: Squalicum receiver Damek Mitchell has averaged just over 60 yards receiving the past four weeks and has scored a touchdown two of the past three weeks.

Herald prediction: Squalicum 34-20.

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