BELLINGHAM – No. 3 Meridian clinched at least a tie for the 1A Northwest Conference title with a 33-20 win over Lynden Christian, Friday, Oct. 13., that keeps their undefeated streak alive.
“We’re lucky to come out on this end,” Meridian head coach Bob Ames said. “We played them three weeks ago and we had to turn around and play them again. It’s hard. We took advantage of some breaks we got. Lynden Christian is a well-coached team.”
Senior receiver Bryce Vandenhaak propelled Meridian (7-0, 4-0, 1A NWC) with four receiving touchdowns of 7, 29, 68 and 77 yards.
Following an upset victory over then No. 6 Nooksack Valley last week, Lynden Christian (3-4, 1-3, 1A NWC) couldn’t get its run game going this time.
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Meridian bottled up Lyncs’ senior tailback Jordan Riddle who only mustered 61 yards and a rushing TD on 18 carries.
“They made it really hard for us to run the ball,” Lyncs’ head coach Dan Kaemingk said. “Those yards that were sixes and sevens last week, were twos and threes this week.”
On the opening play of the game, Vandenhaak split two Lyncs’ defenders up the middle and took a pass from Simon Burkett 77 yards for a 6-0 lead.
“That first play of the game, we hadn’t really seen it before,” Kaemingk said. “They snuck Vandenhaak up the middle there. That’s just good offensive game-planning on their part.”
Five minutes later, senior TJ Dykstra caught a 7-yard pass from Burkett to put Meridian up 12-0.
Lynden Christian got on the board when Riddle picked off a Burkett pass and took it 62-yards for the score.
Vandenhaak then had three touchdown catches in the span of 11 minutes to give Meridian a 33-7 advantage with 4:47 left in the third quarter..
Vandenhaak finished with 6 catches for 202 yards and 4 scores, including 51 yards rushing.
Burkett went 16 for 25 with 337 yards passing, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
Stars of the game
Bryce Vandenhaak exploded for 202 yards receiving and four touchdowns. Vandenhaak’s 77-yard TD reception on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Turning point of the game
Bryce Vandenhaak’s 7-yard touchdown reception with two seconds left before the half came when Burkett’s pass bounced off a Lyncs’ defender and fell right into the hands of Vandenhaak, giving Meridian a 19-7 advantage at the break.
Unsung hero of the game
Despite a losing effort, the Lync’s 6-foot-6 defensive lineman George DeJong had a 10-yard sack on Burkett, and later scooped up a fumble when Burkett threw an errant shovel pass.