High School Football

What are the keys to each game and who are the football players to watch entering Week 3?

Meridian running back Bryce Vandenhaak wrapped up by a horde of Blaine defenders at the line of scrimmage during a Week 2 game Sept. 8.
Meridian running back Bryce Vandenhaak wrapped up by a horde of Blaine defenders at the line of scrimmage during a Week 2 game Sept. 8. For The Bellingham Herald

Coupeville at Nooksack Valley

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Nooksack Valley High School

Wolves (2-0) update: Coupeville beat La Conner 40-6 on Friday, as Cameron Toomey-Stout set the tone by returning the opening kickoff 70 yards for a TD. He also caught a pass for another TD and finished with six catches for 108 yards, while Hunter Smith and Sean Toomey-Stout each had interception returns for TDs. Quarterback Hunter Downes passed for 146 yards and three TDs. The Wolves have allowed only six points in two games.

Pioneers (2-0) update: No. 7 Nooksack Valley won 56-34 at Granite Falls Friday, though coach Robb Myhre said his team played “as sloppy as we could have been.” Casey Bauman threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns, but it was the Pioneers’ ground game that took over the game. Bauman was one of two runners to reach triple digits and score a pair of touchdowns on the ground. Baylor Galley caught two passes for 77 yards and a TD, while Kyle Veldman snagged five for 87 yards.

Key to the game: With an ultra-competitive 1A NWC schedule just a week away, this is the last chance for Nooksack Valley to clean up the sloppy play from last week, and you can bet the coaches have made that a priority this week in practice.

Player to watch: Austin O’Bryan showed he’s plenty capable of filling the shoes left by the injured Tre Silva, leading Nooksack Valley’s ground game with 211 yards and two TDs on 26 carries. He also led the Pioneers with 98 yards and a TD on three receptions.

Prediction: Nooksack Valley 48-13.

Mount Baker at Port Townsend

Time: 7p.m.

Site: Memorial Athletic Field, Port Townsend

Mountaineers (2-0) update: No. 3 Mount Baker survived a four-plus hour bus trip to beat Fulton 56-14 Friday in Vernon, B.C. The Mountaineers rushed for 423 yards and seven touchdowns and averaged 10.8 yards per attempt in the game, as Carson Brandland, Jason Lee, Junior Camacho and Colton Knutzen all found the end zone once and Carson Engholm rushed for 116 yards and three TDs. Kaleb Bass passed for 102 yards and found Thomas Barbo three times for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Redhawks (0-2) update: After a forfeit loss to Sequim in Week 1, Port Townsend fell at Port Angeles 27-13 Friday. The win was the Rough Riders’ first in nearly two years. The Redhawks fell behind 14-0, but Noa Apker-Montoya returned the first of his two interceptions 45 yards for a TD. He set a school record as a freshman with 10 interceptions and also rushed for 88 yards on 16 carries. Jacob Boucher’s 5-yard run was Port Townsend’s only other score.

Key to the game: The bus ride will be quite a bit shorter this week, though there will be a ride on a ferry for the Mountaineers, who would like to keep things rolling as they prepare to head into 1A NWC play next week. They’ve out scored their first two opponents 105-27.

Player to watch: Sophomore Jason Lee burst onto the scene as yet another threat to run the ball for Mount Baker, as led the team with 132 yards on nine carries and scored a TD.

Prediction: Mount Baker 49-10.

Cascade Christian at Meridian

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Meridian High School

Cougars (2-0) update: No. 4 Cascade Christian beat Lynden Christian 35-13 Saturday, thanks in large part to a 176-yard, two-touchdown performance by senior running back Madden Tobeck. He has 350 yards and three TDs on 27 carries this season. Quarterback Parker Johnson has thrown for 455 yards and six TDs this season, including two scores against LC. His top target is Tyquan Coleman (8 catches, 311 yards, 4 TDs), while Jeremy Ocbian and Abel Nutu each have been credited with five sacks.

Trojans (2-0) update: No. 9 Meridian came back to beat Blaine 50-44 on Simon Burkett’s dive for the end zone on the game’s final play. Burket finished with 304 yards and three touchdowns passing and led the team with 105 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Tony Schleimer caught four passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Cole Roberts and Lukas Hemenway had rushing scores. The Trojans’ two wins this season have come by 12 points combined.

Key to the game: Meridian, which allowed 387 passing yards last week will have to shore up its defense against a Cougars squad eager to pay it back for knocking it out of the first round of the 1A State Playoffs last year. Cascade Christian piled up 274 yards rushing and 205 through the air last week.

Player to watch: Meridian’s Bryce VandenHaak is one of Meridian’s many talented skill position players. He now stands second in the county with 202 yards receiving after catching five passes for 167 yards and a TD last week.

Prediction: Cascade Christian 21-20.

Lynden Christian at Cashmere

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Cashmere High School

Lyncs (1-1) update: Lynden Christian suffered its first loss of the season 35-13 at Cascade Christian Saturday. After scoring on their first possession, the Lyncs’ offense struggled, generating just 98 yards through the air and 130 on the ground. Zach Sipma did catch a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and finished with four catches for 32 yards. LC’s defense wasn’t as spectacular as it was in Week 1, allowing the Cougars to average 9.8 yards and score three TDs on 28 carries – they held Bellingham to 0.8 yards on 27 carries in a Week 1 shutout.

Bulldogs (1-1) update: Cashmere rebounded from a Week 1 loss to Ephrata with a 51-0 victory at Sultan Friday. The Bulldogs held the Turks to just 14 total yards of offense and grabbed three second-half interceptions. Quarterback Tyler Kert threw for three touchdowns and averaged five yards per carry in the game.

Key to the game: Even though things are unlikely to get much easier against Cashmere, the Lyncs have got to get their offense going before 1A NWC play begins next week. In two games, LC has generated 20 points and 350 yards of total offense.

Player to watch: LC coach Dan Kaemingk raved about the effort Jordan Riddle put in last week. He was responsible for more than 70 percent of the Lyncs’ total offense, rushing for 126 yards and a TD on 22 carries and catching a 35-yard pass.

Prediction: Cashmere 24-14.

Blaine at Sedro-Woolley

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Sedro-Woolley High School

Borderites (0-2) update: Despite playing much better than in Week 1, Blaine still lost 50-44 to Meridian on Friday. Quarterback Cam Ellis had a huge game in his second start, passing for 387 yards and four touchdowns. Chase Abshere caught three of his scoring tosses and had six receptions in all for 118 yards. Oscar Caridad led the Blaine ground attack for the second straight week, rushing for 59 yards and two TDs, while Jacob Westfall ran for 32 yards and a TD.

Cubs (1-1) update: Sedro-Woolley suffered a 36-7 loss to then-Class 4A No. 10 Monroe Friday. The Cubs fell behind 29-0 in the first half, thanks in part to a pair of turnovers and a safety. Sedro’s offense struggled to get going, generating just 15 yards rushing and 55 passing in the first half. Their lone score didn’t come until there was only 2:35 left in the game, when quarterback Carter Trammel found Eli Chavez for a 34-yard TD pass.

Key to the game: Blaine has got to find a way to keep opponents out of the end zone. Against Nooksack Valley and Meridian the Borderites have allowed 95 points. Fortunately, they won’t have to face a quarterback already committed to a NCAA Division I school this week.

Player to watch: Dalton Mouw hauled in nine passes for 178 yards (19.8 average) and a touchdown last week, showing part of the reason the Borderites were so excited for their receiving corps entering this fall.

Prediction: Sedro-Woolley 24-14.

Lynden at Bellingham

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Civic Stadium

Lions (1-1) update: After scoring the first 13 points of the game, No. 4 Lynden watched rival Ferndale come back to claim a 19-16 victory Friday. Quarterback Brock Heppner rushed for 34 yards and touchdown and threw for 185 yards but was intercepted twice. Eric Martin-Mann led the Lions with 12 rushes for 64 yards and a TD, while Cory Warner caught one pass for 81 yards. The Lynden defense held Ferndale to 3.5 yards per rush attempt and did not allow a rushing touchdown.

Red Raiders (1-1) update: Bellingham bounced back from a Week 1 loss to beat Shorewood 38-13 Friday. After averaging just 0.8 yards per carry (22 yards on 27 attempts) against Lynden Christian, the Red Raiders increased that average 10-fold, rushing for 330 yards on 41 attempts (8.0 average). Connor Wallace was the chief beneficiary of improved play by the offensive line, rushing for 247 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

Key to the game: Last year after suffering a 27-20 loss to Ferndale in Week 2, Lynden responded by beating Bellingham 34-14 to start it run to the 2A NWC crown. Only time will tell how the Lions bounce back this year.

Player to watch: In his first varsity action, Bellingham sophomore quarterback Morgan Cavalier rushed for 60 yards and two touchdowns against Shorewood, though he and Rand Bentley combined to complete only three passes in the game.

Prediction: Lynden 28-13.

Sehome at Lakewood

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Lakewood High School

Mariners (0-2) update: Sehome suffered its second straight loss with a 46-28 setback against Sequam Secondary (B.C.) Saturday. The Mariners hope to snap a 19-game losing streak. Sehome relied more on its passing game against Sequam than it did in Week 1, as Michael Mindnich passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns and was intercepted once. Brett Meggyesy caught five passes for 39 yards, while Jay Travier caught four passes for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Cougars (1-1) update: After beating Clover Park 42-0 in Week 1, Lakewood lost to Lord Tweedsmuir, B.C., 47-28 Friday. Quarterback Austin Lane passed for 256 yards and four touchdowns in the game, but was intercepted twice. Brandt Starkey (5 catches, 84 yards, TD) was his top target, but Spencer Neiffer, Blake Funston and C.J. McClellan also had TD catches. Lane also led the Cougars with 59 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Key to the game: For the second straight week, the Mariners dug themselves an early hole, falling behind 28-0 before getting on the scoreboard late in the second quarter. If Sehome can avoid the slow start this week, it might be able to turn last year’s 14-12 loss to the Cougars around.

Player to watch: Sehome’s Melloy Nelson tallied a pair of touchdowns last week, scoring on an 8-yard TD run and and catching three passes for a team-high 54 yards and another score.

Prediction: Lakewood 28-24.

Squalicum at Marysville-Pilchuck

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: QuilCeda Stadium, Marysville

Storm (2-0) update: No. 7 Squalicum pulled away in the second half to claim a crazy 85-70 victory over South Delta, B.C., Friday. The good news for the Storm obviously came on the offensive side of the ball, which amassed 594 yards rushing – led by Triston Smith’s 445 yards and six TDs on 28 carries – and 261 yards passing. Defensively ... well the 654 yards passing allowed can only be tempered by Jose Hernandez’s crucial interception in the third quarter and the fact that the Storm held the Sun Devils to 63 yards rushing on 17 carries (3.7 average).

Tomahawks (1-1) update: Pilchuck bounced back from a Week 1 loss to Snohomish to shut out Lynnwood 49-0 Friday. The Tomahawks scored touchdowns on all five first-half drives. Running back Trenton Hurst led the way, rushing for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while quarterback Kee-An Ballard threw for 135 yards and a TD and rushed for 24 yards and two more scores. Jordan Justice caught a 36-yard TD pass and returned a fumble for another score – one of five turnovers forced by the Tomahawks.

Key to the game: Obviously, Squalicum has got to shore up things defensively, but the good news is they are won’t see a quarterback like Michael Calvert, who attempted 52 passes last week and repeatedly avoided Storm pass rushers in the backfield.

Player to watch: Squalicum’s Spencer Lloyd has looked good as the Storm’s new quarterback. Last week he threw 261 yards and two touchdowns, with JaLique Martin his top target (8 catches, 157 yards, 2 TDs). Lloyd also rushed for 121 yards and two scores.

Prediction: Squalicum 48-17.

Ferndale at South Kitsap

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: South Kitsap High School, Port Orchard

Golden Eagles (2-0) update: No. 4 Ferndale came back to beat rival Lynden 19-16 Friday. For the first time in a long time, the Golden Eagles did not score a rushing touchdown, relying on three touchdown passes from quarterback James Hinson. Hinson hit 11 of 15 passes for 145 yards and connected twice with Reid Benson for scores and again with Gader Fox for the game-winning touchdown with just eight seconds left. Benson finished with 59 yards on three catches. Cole Semu rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries.

Wolves (0-2) update: One week after being shut out 56-0 by Grahm-Kapowsin, South Kitsap lost 55-6 at Sumner Friday in a second game against a team ranked in the top three in Class 4A. Big plays burned the Wolves, as they allowed a fumble to be returned 77 yards for a touchdown and an interception 99 yards for a score. They also allowed a 95-yard touchdown pass. Former South Kitsap assistant Cory Vartanian is in his first year leading the program.

Key to the game: The Golden Eagles have an extra week before they begin 3A Wesco North play at home against Arlington, so staying healthy and staying sharp are paramount.

Player to watch: Ferndale’s Watiko Leighton caught four passes for 46 yards last week, after catching just one pass for 5 yards in Week 1. He’s a valuable option for Hinson.

Prediction: Ferndale 45-6.

Tacoma Baptist at Lummi

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Lummi Nation School

Crusaders (2-0) update: No. 5 Tacoma Baptist picked up a forfeit victory over Wishkah Valley last week. That follows a 76-64 Week 1 win at Crescent. In that wild Sept. 2 game, the Crusaders allowed 597 yards of total offense. Running back Titus Von Barnau Sythoff scored on runs of 20, 24, 50 and 25 yards in the game, while quarterback P.J. Talen had touchdown runs of 21, 20, 55, 40 and 19 yards. This is the second year Tacoma Baptist has had a football program and the first under coach Steve Stone.

Blackhawks (2-0) update: After receiving a Week 1 forfeit, No. 2 Lummi finally got to take the field Friday, claiming a 28-0 win over rival Neah Bay in a non-league game. The defense had a tremendous night, forcing six turnovers, including two interceptions by Quincy Lane, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Lummi also recovered two fumbles and built a 22-0 lead by halftime.

Key to the game: Lummi has got to clean up some mistakes that emerged last week, especially as they face an opponent ranked in the top five for a second straight week. Coach Jim Sandusky was concerned that snaps sailed over quarterback Dashawn Lawrence’s head multiple times in shotgun sets.

Player to watch: Caleb Revey showed that he’s plenty capable of becoming the play maker the Blackhawks need him to be, as he scored three touchdowns in the win over Neah Bay. He also had a pair of interceptions on defense.

Prediction: Lummi 28-12.

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