In the regular season finale, second-ranked Meridian topped ninth-ranked Mount Baker 52-29, Friday to complete its first undefeated regular season since winning the Class 1A state title in 2006.
Trojans’ coach Bob Ames said even though the game had no effect on seeding, he still wanted to keep momentum going into Class 1A Northwest District playoffs.
“We were playing for ourselves,” Ames said. “This is Whatcom County. When you play a Whatcom County school, if you don’t show up, they’ll kick your behind.”
Meridian (9-0, 6-0 1A NWC) was already locked in for the top seed in the Northwest Conference, while Mount Baker is locked in for the second seed. The Trojans will host Bothell Cedar Park Christian at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Anacortes. Mount Baker (6-3, 3-3) will host King’s at 7 p.m. Friday in its winner-to-state game.
Ames said although the Trojans faced Cedar Park Christian in the playoffs before, they look much different under the new coach Butch Goncharoff, who previously led 3A perennial powerhouse Bellevue.
“We played them a few years ago, but it’s a new program,” Ames said. “Butch is Butch; he’s the guy. They’re doing really well.”
Mountaineers’ coach Ron Lepper said his team will look to remain focused going into next week.
“We haven’t played them for a few years but, traditionally, they’re a strong program,” Lepper said of King’s. “We can’t look past them.”
Trojans senior wideout Bryce Vandenhaak needed 12 receiving yards to surpass the 1,000-yard mark Friday. He got that, and some, as he hauled in eight passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Simon Burkett threw for 372 yards and five touchdowns on the night.
Stars of the game
Burkett, who has committed to play for Eastern Washington next year, showed off his throwing ability, lighting up the Mountaineers’ secondary with 15 completions over 10 yards.
Bryce Vandenhaak had touchdown receptions of 9, 43 and 37 yards, also adding a touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Unsung hero of the game
Mountaineers’ senior tailback Carson Engholm needed 119 rushing yards for 1,000 on the season. He didn’t get it, but he did have a 42-yard interception that set up a Thomas Barbo touchdown catch in the third quarter.