It was no secret which player Mount Baker was going to turn to on offense in its Class 1A Northwest District playoff game against Sultan on Friday at Civic Stadium.
Sultan knew it. The fans knew it. And yet Jed Schleimer still ran rampant over the Turks’ defense en route to a 41-0 win for the second-ranked Mountaineers. The senior ran for 188 yards and all six of Mount Baker’s touchdowns, sending the team on to the 1A state playoffs for a fifth consecutive year.
However, the Mountaineers’ offense stalled for the first half of the first quarter because of Sultan’s defense.
“They packed nine in the box and it took us a while to get going,” coach Ron Lepper said. “Our defense played well, and that helped get our offense going.”
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The biggest play Schleimer made all game wasn’t on offense, though.
Sultan started a drive from its own 11, and on the fifth play Turks quarterback Andy Sam lobbed a ball up that Schleimer intercepted.
“That really got me going,” Schleimer said. “These guys (Sultan) are pretty chippy. I came into this game with a chip on my shoulder, and I just wanted to play to the best of my abilities, and I felt like our whole team did that.”
Two plays later, Schleimer scored on a 6-yard run.
Mount Baker only scored once more in the first half on a 19-yard run by Schleimer with 5:56 remaining in the second quarter and went into halftime with an uncomfortable 13-0 lead.
After the break, Mount Baker came out with a renewed energy, and Schleimer scored just six plays in on a 29-yard run. The Mountaineers went on to score 14 points in both the third and fourth quarters to start the running clock with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Mount Baker held Sultan to 62 yards and four first downs and forced two turnovers.
This was a rematch of last year’s district playoff matchup, in which Mount Baker won 56-7. In last year’s meeting, the Mountaineers piled up 428 yards on 39 carries (11.0 per attempt). Schleimer ran for 270 yards and five TDs on 16 attempts, while Carson Engholm added 74 yards and a score on seven carries. Engholm rushed for 79 yards Friday.
Lepper said he was proud of the way his team played because several of them, including Schleimer, were sick entering the game.
Quarterback Kaleb Bass started the game with three incompletions but connected on his next three passes to Schleimer and Thomas Barbo for 80 yards. He finished with 89 passing yards.
MB – Jed Schleimer 6 run (kick failed)
MB – Schleimer 19 run (Jonathan Ehlers kick)
MB – Schleimer 29 run (Ehlers kick)
MB – Schleimer 5 run (Ehlers kick)
MB – Schleimer 2 run (Ehlers kick)
MB – Schleimer 25 run (Ehlers kick)
RUSHING – Sultan: Brayden Haefele 3-(-8), Tanner Belcher 4-12, Andy Sam 16-45, Noah Fleming 3-13, Zack Zornes 4-(-13). Mount Baker: Schleimer 24-188, Carson Brandland 3-1, Carson Engholm 12-79, Kaleb Bass 3-(-1), Thomas Barbo 1-(-12).
PASSING – Sultan: Sam 2-3-1-13, Haefele 0-6-0-0. Mount Baker: Bass 4-9-0-89.
RECEIVING –Sultan: Zornes 2-13. Mount Baker: Schleimer 2-40, Barbo 1-40, Engholm 1-9.