High School Football

They were close to making state last year, but they know they need to grow closer in 2017

Blaine quarterback Cameron Ellis looks to make a pass during practice Aug. 24.
Blaine quarterback Cameron Ellis looks to make a pass during practice Aug. 24. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

For the first time since 2013, when the Borderites were still playing in Class 1A, the Blaine football team advanced to the postseason last year. The run may not have lasted long – a loss to Issaquah Liberty in the bi-district playoffs kept the team from advancing to state – but from the outside, it looked like a relatively positive season for the program.

And though it definitely had to be considered successful, the Borderites know things could have been better.

“Last year we didn’t have as much connection,” senior Cruz Rodriguez said. “We could have been closer. Definitely this year, it’s a big deal to bring everyone together. We have to have everyone riding on the bus.”

Blaine is trying to carry it even further than just getting everybody going in the same direction.

“We’re trying to build a brotherhood,” senior Cam Ellis said. “A goal we’ve put together this year is stick together to the end. We’ll stick with each other, no matter what. These are my brothers, and nobody is getting left behind.”

To reach that end, coach Jay Dodd said the team is trying to treat each other with respect, prohibiting picking on players and bullying. They want every member on the roster to feel valued and important to the success of the team as a whole.

0830 Blaine FOOT graphic (2)

“We want everyone to feel safe – feel happy to be at practice,” Dodd said. “We’re trying to form that brotherhood, where you put your teammates in front of yourself. We’re working on that in many different ways. We want to make sure we have that atmosphere long before we get into games.”

Team unity is extremely important this year, as Blaine had a high level of turnover, especially at the skill positions.

“We’ve got lots of young guys coming up this year,” senior Porter Schmidt said. “We’ve got to make sure they all know what they’re doing and where we’re going. We want to make them know they’re an important part of the team.”

The area Blaine returns most is up front, where Schmidt and River Markusen are returning starters on both lines. Cruz Rodriguez also started at tight end.

“That helps having three of the six guys up front back,” Dodd said, “and then the three that are replacing guys are very talented. They just couldn’t crack the starting lineup because they were behind some very talented older guys that have now graduated. We feel very good about our line.”

I think we need to stay together and treat each other with respect – put other people in front of yourself and just have that mentality of brotherhood.

Blaine coach Jay Dodd

Jay Dodd
Jay Dodd

That’s big, considering Blaine returns almost zero varsity experience in its offensive backfield.

Ellis, who has attempted just two varsity passes, will take the reigns are quarterback this year. Dodd said his ball strength has greatly improved over the past year, allowing him to throw with velocity, accuracy and down the field.

“He’s been waiting his turn since he was in third grade,” Dodd said. “He was our ball boy growing up in elementary school. We had a very good senior QB last year, so he couldn’t really take the job until his senior year. We’re excited for him to take the reigns and see what he could do.”

Blaine also doesn’t return anybody who had a varsity carry last year. In fact, Dodd said, the Borderites will head to Week 1 with five players likely to get carries – a pair of seniors, two juniors and a sophomore. The last time they had a similar situation was in 2014, when then sophomore Riley Fritsch emerged from Week 1, and all he did was rush for 4,016 yards and 48 touchdowns the next three seasons.

9 Times in the past 10 seasons Blaine has had a running back that gained more than 1,000 yards. This year they don’t have a back on the roster who had a varsity carry in 2016.

Chase Abshere does give Blaine an experienced receiver, and state track sprinters Dalton Mouw and Isaiah Russ along with Alex Mercado make a group Dodd said Blaine is “very, very excited about.”

Defensively, Blaine expects to be stout, with Rodriguez in the middle of its 3-4. Schmidt and Markusen give Blaine talent and size up front, while Abshere, Mercado and Max Miller will play safety and Mouw and Russ will man the corners.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys, but they’re fast and they know their job, and I think they’re going to do it well,” Ellis said. “We’re going to be a hard-hitting team. We’re a pretty well-rounded team. Everybody’s just got to do their part and believe in the brotherhood we’re building.”

2017 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 1

at Nooksack Valley

7 p.m.

Sept. 8

Meridian

7 p.m.

Sept. 15

at Sedro-Woolley*

7 p.m.

Sept. 22

at Bellingham+*

7 p.m.

Sept. 29

Anacortes*

7 p.m.

Oct. 6

Lynden*

7 p.m.

Oct. 13

at Lakewood*

7 p.m.

Oct. 27

Burlington-Edison*

7 p.m.

*NWC 2A game; +at Civic Stadium

2016 results

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 2

Nooksack Valley

W 35-21

Sept. 9

at Meridian

W 45-35

Sept. 16

Sedro-Woolley*

L 52-20

Sept. 23

Bellingham*

W 24-17

Sept. 30

at Anacortes*

W 28-21

Oct. 7

at Lynden*

L 31-23

Oct. 14

Lakewood*

W 44-7

Oct. 21

Sehome*

W 48-0

Oct. 27

at Burlington-Edison*

L 17-12

CLASS 2A NORTHWEST DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

Nov. 4

at Liberty

L 27-24

*NWC 2A game

2017 Roster

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Pos.

2

Alex Mercado

5-7

145

Jr.

WR/DB

3

Kai Nagle

6-0

155

Sr.

WR/DB

4

Chase Abshere

6-1

185

Jr.

WR/DB

5

Max Miller

5-11

165

Sr.

WR/DB

6

Cameron Ellis

6-1

160

Sr.

QB/DB

8

Arjun Sihota

6-2

205

Jr.

QB/LB

9

Tanner Beson

6-1

185

Jr.

WR/LB

10

Bryce Stanovich

6-3

180

Sr.

WR/DB

11

Brian Davis

5-9

185

Jr.

WR/DB

12

Ethan Deming

6-0

150

Jr.

WR/DB

13

Dalton Mouw

6-0

170

Sr.

WR/DB

14

Bryce Kamrath

6-0

160

Jr.

K

15

Robert Parker

5-8

160

So.

QB/DB

16

Isaiah Russ

5-9

155

Sr.

WR/DB

19

Colby Mahood

5-10

130

Jr.

WR/DB

20

Trenton Denhartog

6-0

150

Sr.

WR/DB

21

Jaden Fritsch

6-0

165

So.

WR/DB

22

Tazer Stone

5-10

140

Sr.

RB/LB

23

Oscar Caridad

5-7

160

So.

RB/LB

24

Kevin Nolasco

5-6

175

Sr.

RB/LB

25

Danyil Tkachov

5-11

170

Jr.

RB/LB

28

Alex Hunt

5-8

145

So.

WR/DB

29

Chase Dubois

5-10

180

Sr.

RB/LB

30

Hudson Reid

6-1

200

Jr.

RB/LB

31

Jaden Seitz

6-0

195

Sr.

TE/LB

32

Garrison Folk

5-8

160

Sr.

WR/DB

33

Trenton Aiello

5-7

135

So.

WR/LB

34

Jacob Westfall

5-8

175

Jr.

RB/LB

35

Chase Covell

5-7

115

So.

WR/DB

42

Brittain Solomon

5-11

140

Jr.

K

45

Caleb Kielpinski

6-2

160

So.

WR/DL

51

Justin Nevins

6-0

220

Jr.

OL/DL

52

Isaiah Hee

5-7

180

Sr.

OL/DL

53

Gavin Silver

5-9

200

So.

OL/DL

54

Porter Schmidt

5-10

210

Sr.

OL/DL

55

Cody Goucher

6-0

210

Sr.

OL/DL

56

Gavino Rodriguez

6-1

205

So.

OL/DL

57

Mason Vega

6-1

185

So.

OL/LB

58

Joshua Soto

6-3

215

Sr.

OL/LB

60

River Markusen

5-11

210

Sr.

OL/DL

69

Tristan Alanis

5-10

210

Sr.

OL/DL

70

Tobin Akre

5-9

195

So.

OL/DL

73

Ryan Rigsby

5-10

255

Sr.

OL/DL

74

Connor Ellis

6-2

260

Jr.

OL/DL

76

Wyatt Cole

6-2

245

So.

OL/DL

78

Chris Reid

6-1

270

So.

OL/DL

79

Cameron Calvert

6-4

280

Jr.

OL/DL

82

Cruz Rodriguez

6-3

225

Sr.

TE/LB

83

Joshua Rogers

6-1

195

Sr.

TE/LB

84

Drew Schroeder

6-3

180

Jr.

TE/LB

88

Conner Bolick

6-0

155

Jr.

TE/LB

NA

Dawson Almer

NA

NA

Jr.

WR/DB

NA

Tristen Lambe

NA

NA

Jr.

TE

NA

Kavika Hee

NA

NA

So.

WR/DB

NA

Travis Baker

NA

NA

So.

WR/DB

Coach: Jay Dodd

2016 statistical leaders

Rushing

Player

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Riley Fritsch

247

1,406

5.7

18

Garrett Adams

37

171

4.6

2

Julian Gonzalez

9

107

11.9

2

Jalen Kortlever

42

-68

-1.6

0

Passing

Player

Cmp.

Att.

Yards

TD

Int.

Jalen Kortlever

116

210

1,707

16

8

Cameron Ellis*

1

2

5

0

0

Receiving

Player

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Anthony Ball

58

887

15.3

9

Alfonso Dermendziev

20

335

16.8

0

Chase Abshere*

21

328

15.6

5

Cruz Rodriguez*

4

41

10.3

0

Gunnar Arnason

4

40

10.0

0

*Returning player

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