Are you ready for Championship Week? The outright 3A Wesco North Division, 2A Northwest Conference and 1A Northwest Conference titles could all be decided this weekend in a slate of games highlighted by the Class 3A battle between No. 4 Ferndale and No. 2 Squalicum on Saturday, Oct. 22. Here’s a look at where the 10 Whatcom County teams rank heading into the pivotal Week 8:
1. Squalicum (1)
Did you see what Triston Smith did last week – 277 yards of total offense and five TDs? The scary thing is he’s far from the only play maker on the Storm’s roster. But Squalicum will be tested Saturday, Oct. 22, when it battles Ferndale for the 3A Wesco North Division title.
2. Ferndale (2)
Is it really a surprise that the two teams transferring from the Northwest Conference are battling for the 3A Wesco North Division crown in their first year in the new league? Saturday’s game has the potential to be a dandy, as the Golden Eagles have just as many big-play threats as Squalicum.
3. Lynden (3)
Stop me if this sounds familiar – Lynden playing Burlington-Edison with a chance to clinch the league title. The Lions have put themselves in perfect position to reascend the 2A NWC mountain and claim the championship after winning their first five league games, but they need win No. 6 on Friday.
4. Mount Baker (4)
The Mountaineers already have clinched at least a share of the 1A NWC championship, and now they want to claim it all for themselves. Beating Lynden Christian Friday would do just that. With Jed Schleimer and Carson Engholm running like they did Monday, that seems highly likely.
5. Blaine (6)
The Borderites turned in perhaps their best performance to date when they needed it most last week, beating Lakewood to put themselves in position to head to the postseason for the first time since 2013. Now is not the time for a slip up with a game against winless Sehome.
6. Nooksack Valley (5)
The Pioneers looked like they belong on Monday Night Football, as Casey Bauman slung the ball for 435 yards in last week’s loss to Mount Baker. But the Pioneers have got to figure out how to stop the run. After allowing 544 yards against Mount Baker, they’re surrendering 254.0 yards per week.
7. Bellingham (7)
If the Red Raiders can find a way to reel off three straight wins to close the season, they’ll finish with a 6-4 record for the second straight year. It would mean so much more this season against Northwest Conference competition after rebuilding for two years away from league competition.
8. Meridian (8)
The Trojans are down but certainly not out. Should they beat Nooksack Valley Friday, they would clinch no worse than a tie-breaker for the second 1A NWC berth to the district playoffs. But a second loss to the Pioneers would result in them missing the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
9. Lynden Christian (9)
The Lyncs put a scare into Meridian last week, so don’t overlook Dan Kaemingk’s crew the final two weeks. A win against either Mount Baker or Nooksack Valley would help serve as motivation during offseason workouts this summer.
10. Sehome (10)
For the fourth time this season, the Mariners scored a touchdown or less while giving up at least 42 points in the same game last week against Burlington-Edison. With Blaine and Lynden remaining on the schedule, it could happen a couple more times.