For the second time in four weeks, the Lynden Christian football team had Mount Baker on the ropes in a 1A Northwest Conference football game. And for the second time, the Mountaineers found a way in the closing minutes and grabbed an important win.
Carson Brandland scored from about 8 yards out on an off-tackle run with 27 seconds left to lift Mount Baker to a 18-14 victory over the Lyncs in Lynden Friday night.
“We’re trying to enter a new phase here with the program, where close enough is not good enough,” Lynden Christian coach Dan Kaemingk said. “We’re trying to strike a balance between being proud of the kids and the effort they gave and being disappointed that we came up on the short end. ... That’s a sad lockerrom right now, and in a way, we’re glad to see that. They’re expecting more of themselves.”
With the win, Mount Baker (6-2, 3-2 1A NWC) locked up the No. 2 seed out of the 1A NWC into the district playoffs in two weeks and will host the Cascade Conference No. 2 seed. Lynden Christian (3-5, 1-4) and Nooksack Valley will battle for the league’s final playoff spot on Friday.
“We’re excited about that,” Kaemingk said. “These guys have played a heck of a schedule. They’re all tough teams, and now we have a one-game playoff against another tough team.”
LC built a 14-6 advantage in the second half Friday, Kaemingk said, thanks in part to some adjustments by the offensive coaching staff at halftime that allowed the Lyncs to start running the ball more effectively. Jordan Riddle started to pile up some yardage and scored both touchdowns for LC.
A Carson Engholm touchdown run cut LC’s lead to 14-12, but Mount Baker couldn’t convert the 2-point attempt to tie the score.
The Lyncs were threatening to put the game away midway through the fourth quarter, but turned it over on downs at about the Mount Baker 20 or 25, and it wasn’t long until a long pass to Thomas Barbo set the Mountaineers up in the red zone for Brandland’s winning score.
“I thought our defense played well, especially in the first half,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “That’s a tough team, and to come back from 14-6 down, these guys had to fight for it.”