It was something the Mount Baker football team’s coaching staff found a week earlier, senior running back Jed Schleimer said.
“They just came up with it during a game, really,” Schleimer said. “We’ll be coming back to it.”
And who could blame the Mountaineers? Just about every time Schleimer ran the power sweep to the right side of the line behind Maxwell Tolman, Braxton Shannon and T.J. Bass, picking his hole and accelerating upfield, it netted Mount Baker at least a first down – quite often more.
The power sweep was responsible for most of Schleimer’s 272 rushing yards and four touchdowns, as he and backfield mate Carson Engholm led the Mountaineers to a 57-36 victory at Nooksack Valley on Monday, Oct. 17.
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Engholm, who got most of his yardage running counters and traps into the center of the line, had a 276-yard night and scored three times.
“Our entire right side dominated their defense,” Schleimer said. “They were opening some huge holes for Carson and me.”
With those holes, Mount Baker was able to jump out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.
Though they had problems silencing the Mountaineers’ ground game, the Pioneers did not go away quietly. In fact, they put quite a scare into Mount Baker, coming back to tie the score. Casey Bauman connected with Jordan Veening for a touchdown and ran for the two-point conversion to tie it 21-21 with 43 seconds left in the first half.
“We’ve done that twice against these guys,” Nooksack Valley coach Robb Myhre said. “We just came out flat.”
Two Mount Baker fumbles helped Nooksack rally.
“The main thing is we focused on was taking care of the ball,” Schleimer said. “The main thing that let them back in the game was turnovers.”
Jonathan Ehlers made a 22-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to put Mount Baker up 24-21, and the Mountainers stretched it out to a 22-point lead by the end of the third quarter.
What it means
Third-ranked Mount Baker (7-0, 4-0 1A NWC) locked up a share of its fifth straight league title.
“That means a lot to us,” Schleimer said. “It mean a lot to our fans, so it means a lot to us.”
For Nooksack Valley (4-3, 2-2), a win over Meridian on Friday, Oct. 21, would clinch the league’s second berth to the district playoffs.
“It’s a huge game, and they have some moxy,” Myhre said. “Every game against Meridian is difficult. ... Our kids are excited about it.”
MB – Carson Engholm 5 run (Jonathan Ehlers kick)
MB – Jed Schleimer 6 run (Ehlers kick)
MB – Schleimer 4 run (Ehlers kick)
NV – Jordan Veening 13 pass from Casey Bauman (Veening kick)
NV – Bauman 4 run (Veening kick)
NV – Bauman 17 run (Veening)
MB – Ehlers 22 FG
MB – Thomas Barbo 18 pass from Kaleb Bass (kick blocked)
MB – Schleimer 8 run (run failed)
MB – Schleimer 46 run (Ehlers kick)
NV – Veening 7 pass from Bauman (Kyle Veldman pass from Bauman)
MB – Engholm 11 run (Ehlers kick)
MB – Engholm 80 run (Ehlers kick)
NV – Tre Silva 2 pass from Bauman (Veening kick)
RUSHING — Mount Baker: Jed Schleimer 19-272, Carson Engholm 17-276, Kaleb Bass 3-(-7), Carson Brandland 1-3. Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 14-27, Colton Kautz 4-2, Tre Silva 7-42.
PASSING — Mount Baker: Kaleb Bass 3-4-0-106. Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 35-46-1-435.
RECEIVING — Mount Baker: Jed Schleimer 2-88, Thomas Barbo 1-18. Nooksack Valley: Jeremy Dykes 8-104, Michael O’Bryan 13-142, Kyle Veldman 7-113, Jordan Veening 3-21, Tre Silva 4-55.