High School Football

A Division-I QB duel, bounce back games, breaking ground on a new field – Week 5 has got it all

Captains head out to the center of the field for the coin toss before Nooksack Valley’s game against Mount Baker Sept. 22, in Everson. The Pioneers won 26-14.
Captains head out to the center of the field for the coin toss before Nooksack Valley’s game against Mount Baker Sept. 22, in Everson. The Pioneers won 26-14. eabell@bhamherald.com

Lynden Christian at Mount Baker

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Mount Baker High School

Lyncs (2-2, 0-1 1A NWC) update: Lynden Christian opened 1A NWC play with a 28-7 loss to Meridian Friday. Jordan Riddle rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, accounting for 69.1 percent of the the Lyncs’ total offensive production in the game. LC’s defense also struggled, allowing the Trojans 392 yards of total offense.

Thomas Barbo
Thomas Barbo

Mountaineers (3-1, 0-1 1A NWC) update: No. 7 Mount Baker suffered its first 1A NWC setback since October 2014 with a 26-14 loss at Nooksack Valley Friday. The 14 points scored was the Mountaineers’ fewest since Sedro-Woolley limited it to seven in the 2015 season opener. Carson Engholm rushed for 115 yards and both Baker TDs on 14 carries against Nooksack.

Key to the game: Though it’s Week 5, this will be the first game at Bob Tisdale Field for Mount Baker, which had its old playing surface and the drainage system beneath it dug up and improved. Expect the Mountaineers to get an extra boost as they look to rebound.

Player to watch: Thomas Barbo sits seventh in Whatcom County with 17 catches for 286 yards and three touchdowns. He’s a talented target that makes an impact on both sides of the ball.

Prediction: Mount Baker 42-24.

Nooksack Valley at Meridian

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Meridian High School

Pioneers (4-0, 1-0 1A NWC) update: No. 3 Nooksack Valley beat Mount Baker 26-14 in its 1A NWC opener Friday. Casey Bauman passed for 249 yards and two scores and rushed for 42 yards and two more touchdowns. Austin O’Bryan rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries – his second triple-digit night of the year – while Jordan Veening caught seven passes for 115 yards and a TD.

Tony Schleimer
Tony Schleimer

Trojans (4-0, 1-0 1A NWC) update: No. 5 Meridian got its 1A NWC season off to a good start with a 28-7 win at Lynden Christian Friday. Simon Burkett led the way, passing for 294 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 56 yards and another score. His top target was Bryce VandenHaak, who caught four passes for 78 yards and a TD, while Dawson Logan snared two passes for 57 yards and a TD.

Key to the game: Most fans will keep an eye on the quarterback battle between Bauman, who has committed to Montana State, and Burkett, who committed to Eastern Washington, but each side has a number of other players who could play a crucial role in the outcome.

Player to watch: After rushing for 765 yards and 11 TDs as a junior, Meridian’s Tony Schleimer doesn’t have a carry this year. He’s still making his mark, though, with 13 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns and is a leader on defense.

Prediction: Meridian 28-24.

Anacortes at Blaine

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Blaine High School

Seahawks (2-2, 0-1 2A NWC) update: Anacortes beat Sehome 35-21 in a non-league meeting Friday. Trystan Lowry threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the game. Lowry passed for 198 yards and rushed for a team-high 107 on 14 carries. Kaden Comings caught two of his TD tosses from 35 and 37 yards out and had an interception.

Jacob Westfall
Jacob Westfall

Borderites (0-4, 0-2 2A NWC) update: What looked like it could be Blaine’s first win slipped away late in 36-35 loss to Bellingham Friday. Quarterback Cam Ellis threw for a career-best 439 yards and four touchdowns. Dalton Mouw caught 11 passes for 203 yards and two TDs, Chase Abshere had 10 receptions for 118 yards and a TD and Cruz Rodriguez finished with eight catches for 81 yards and a TD.

Key to the game: Blaine has got to put last week’s loss, when Bellingham scored with four minutes left and added a 2-point conversion on a bad snap, behind it. A strong game could land the Borderites the win they desperately seek.

Player to watch: While the Borderites’ passing attack got all the attention last week, Jacob Westfall provided some valuable yards on the ground. He rushed for 78 yards on 15 carries and stands 11th in the county with 224 yards and four TDs.

Prediction: Blaine 31-17.

Lakewood at Lynden

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Lynden High School

Cougars (3-1, 1-0 2A NWC) update: Lakewood beat Burlington-Edison 34-17 in a 2A NWC game Friday. Quarterback Austin Lane passed for 241 yards and three touchdowns and led the Cougars with 68 yards rushing and a touchdown. Receiver John Cox scored twice and had 67 yards on seven receptions.

Aaron Weidenaar
Aaron Weidenaar

Lions (2-2, 1-1 2A NWC) update: No. 10 Lynden suffered a 34-20 2A NWC loss to Sedro-Woolley Friday. Four turnovers – two interceptions and two fumbles – proved too much to overcome against a quality opponent. Brock Heppner passed for 269 yards and a TD. Carson Bode caught four passes for 51 yards and a TD, while Eric Martin-Mann had 63 yards on six catches.

Key to the game: The Lions, who entered last week with 181.3 yards rushing per game in their first three weeks, were held to 52 yards on 25 carries by the Cubs. They need to get the ground game cranked back up.

Player to watch: At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Aaron Weidenaar is your typical big, physical Lynden receiver. He caught seven passes for 97 yards last week – his biggest game of the year.

Prediction: Lynden 28-17.

Bellingham at Burlington-Edison

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Burlington-Edison High School

Nick Knutson
Nick Knutson

Red Raiders (2-2, 1-1 2A NWC) update: Bellingham grabbed its first 2A NWC victory of the year when Ethan Fields scrambled in for a 2-point conversion with four minutes remaining in a 36-35 win over Blaine Friday. Fields caught seven passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns, out done only by Spencer Lee’s 10 catches for 195 yards and two scores.

Tigers (2-2, 1-1 2A NWC) update: Burlington-Edison dropped its 2A NWC game at Lakewood 34-17 Friday. The Tigers were able to move the ball, as Isaac Linsay passed for 230 yards and Axel Wilhonen had 139 yards receiving, but they struggled to find the end zone. Quyntin Frazier ran for a TD and Wilhonen caught one from 24 yards out.

Key to the game: Last week’s win was big, as it kept Bellingham alive in a very tight postseason race out of the 2A NWC. But the Red Raiders can’t relax, as they face another team expected to vie for one of just three playoff berths.

Player to watch: Quarterback Nick Knutson returned from injury last week, and his impact was immediate. He passed for 403 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions on 21-for-31 passing.

Prediction: Burlington 24-21.

Sehome at King’s

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: King’s High School

Brett Meggyesy
Brett Meggyesy

Mariners (0-4) update: Sehome showed improved effort, but still ended up on the short end of a 35-21 score against Anacortes Friday. Michael Mindnich passed for 187 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score in the game. Dylan Roberts rushed for 90 yards and a TD, while Ben Dauber caught three passes for 46 yards.

Knights (1-3) update: King’s got its first win of the year, topping Cedarcrest 31-10 in Cascade Conference play Friday. Brennon Blevins threw for a pair of scores to Levi Bundrant and Jacob Gaenz. Logan Perrigo rushed for 78 yards and a TD on 18 carries, and Elijah Jones rushed for a 4-yard score.

Key to the game: Facing a program that reached state seven straight years before having that string end last fall certainly is not an easy task for a program seeking an end to a 21-game losing streak. But continued progress is the key for Sehome.

Player to watch: Brett Meggyesy caught eight passes for 60 yards and a touchdown last week. He’s second on the team to Melloy Nelson with 146 yards receiving this year.

Prediction: King’s 31-21.

Squalicum at Oak Harbor

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Oak Harbor High School

Brian Pullman
Brian Pullman

Storm (3-1, 1-1 3A Wesco North) update: No. 10 Squalicum suffered its first 3A Wesco North loss since joining the league last year with a surprising 36-28 setback to Stanwood Saturday. The Storm allowed 257 yards and four TDs through the air in the game. Triston Smith rushed for 95 yards and a TD. Spencer Lloyd added 83 yards and a score, and Devante Powell also rushed for a TD.

Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 3A Wesco North) update: No. 9 Oak Harbor picked up a 35-7 non-league win over Puyallup Rogers Friday. Mac Nunez rushed for a pair of touchdowns and 140 yards on 31 carries, while TJ Hollins-Passmore rushed for 104 yards and a TD on 15 carries. The combined record of the four teams the Wildcats beat so far is 4-12.

Key to the game: The thing that hurts most about last week’s loss to a previously winless team is that Squalicum can no longer afford to drop a game to another playoff contender, such as Oak Harbor. Squalicum will have to rebound from its first regular-season win since 2014.

Player to watch: Squalicum’s defense has got to improve, after allowing 37.3 points per game the first four weeks. Senior linebacker Brian Pullman should provide leadership for what is a fairly young unit.

Prediction: Squalicum 35-24.

Ferndale at Marysville-Pilchuck

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: QuilCeda Stadium, Marysville

Watiko Leighton
Watiko Leighton

Golden Eagles (4-0, 1-0 3A Wesco North) update: No. 4 Ferndale opened 3A Wesco North play with a 41-13 victory over Arlington Friday. Cole Semu had his biggest game of the year on the ground with for 204 yards and four touchdowns. James Hinson passed for 154 yards and a TD, while Gabe Zwade rushed for 74 yards and a score.

Tomahawks (2-2, 1-1 3A Wesco North) update: Marysville-Pilchuck beat Marysville-Getchell 42-6 Friday. Quarterback Kee-An Ballar threw for three TDs, including two to Jordan Justice, while the Tomahawks defense limited the Chargers to 78 yards of total offense in the first three quarters. Justin Trueax had a pair of short TD runs.

Key to the game: Ferndale can’t afford to let up, especially on the road, after starting the year with four impressive victories. The Golden Eagles need to bring the same intensity into the game, even though they beat the Tomahawks 49-7 last year.

Player to watch: Ferndale’s Watiko Leighton caught two passes for 63 yards and a touchdown last week. He’s been Hinson’s top target, with nine catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Prediction: Ferndale 41-10.

Related stories from Bellingham Herald