Squalicum football coach Nick Lucey told his team before Friday’s game at Ferndale that the 3A Wesco North standings were useless. It simply didn’t matter that Ferndale entered with only one win to its credit through the first five weeks of the season.
“They’re a good team,” Lucey said. “You look at the teams they’ve lost to — Lake Stevens hasn’t lost a game and is in the top five; Lynden hasn’t lost a game; they played Oak Harbor, which looks like the class of our league. ... Don’t look at their record. No matter what, we knew we were going to get Ferndale’s best effort.”
The Golden Eagles gave the Storm that and more, delivering a series of bruising runs mixed with an effective passing game and a defense that forced three Squalicum fumbles in the game’s first 27 minutes.
But Squalicum responded by scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 28-14 victory at Memorial Stadium, keeping the Storm (5-1, 3-1) in position for a winner-take-all showdown with Oak Harbor in two weeks.
It didn’t look like that would be the case early, though, as Ferndale (1-5, 1-3) used a 14-yard touchdown strike from Sequoyah Julius to Colby Tegt in the first quarter and a 46-yard strike from Julius to Watiko Leighton in the second to build a 14-7 halftime lead.
“I thought it was the best first half we have played all season,” Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said. “I just told the kids that. What we’ve got to continue to work on is playing that good for four quarters.”
As strong as Ferndale played in the first 24 minutes, it left a few points on the field, too, as a fumble at the Squalicum 5 kept the Golden Eagles from a 14-0 lead. It also ended up being a harbinger of things to come, as the Storm three times kept Ferndale out of the end zone on drives that reached the red zone.
“It took awhile adjusting to what they do with the misdirection — getting our guys’ eyes in the right places,” Lucey said. “Our guys had to fight for everything.”
After turning over the ball on its first possession of the second half, the Squalicum offense also got things going.
Quarterback Spencer Lloyd’s 15-yard run knotted the score at 14 with 5:08 in the third quarter, before he he gave the Storm its first lead of the game on a 3-yard scoring run less than four minutes later. Lloyd also added an 11-yard TD pass to Collin McEachran in the fourth quarter — Lloyd’s second scoring toss of the game, after he hit Devante Powell from 29 yards out in the second quarter.
Lloyd finished with a game-high 89 yards rushing on 20 attempts and passed for 150 yards.
“He’s a special player, and really has come into his own this year,” Lucey said. “He made a couple big plays on defense and obviously on offense. He really threw the ball well tonight.”
But he wasn’t the only one to throw the ball well Friday, as Julius finished with 142 yards and two TDs on 21 pass attempts — yes, you read that right, 21 pass attempts by a Ferndale quarterback. His top targets were Leighton and Taylor Lupo, who combined for 97 yards and a TD on seven receptions.
“He’s doing a great job for somebody who hasn’t played quarterback before,” Plenkovich said of Julius. “He’s stepped in and done a great job, and you can see him grow throughout the year. He works hard at it. He’s done all that we could ask of someone who’s come in and been new to that position.”
Other Friday games
Lynden 17, Burlington-Edison 14: The Lions (6-0, 3-0) stayed perfect and put themselves in position to wrap up the first 2A NWC Sky Division title next week in a game at Sedro-Woolley, as James Marsh’s 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner.
Eric Martin-Mann rushed for 136 yards, including a 75-yard score in the third quarter, while Marsh finished with 58 yards passing and and another 25 on the ground. Brock Heppner also passed for 64 yards, as Kobe Elsner pulled in two passes for 64 yards.
Meridian 35, Lynden Christian 20: The Trojans handed the Lyncs their first loss of the season and created a three-way tie atop the NWC 1A standings after the first round of league play.
Dawson Logan led the way for Meridian (4-2, 2-1), rushing for 224 yards and four touchdowns and throwing for 160 yards and another score to Cameron Webster. Cole Roberts also rushed for 104 yards in the game.
LC (5-1, 2-1) was led by 46 yards rushing and a pair of first-quarter TD runs from Levi Korthuis, while Bryce Bouwman passed for 265 yards and added a 7-yard TD run in the third quarter. Jalen Apol, Tanner Feenstra and Jackson Corkill each surpassed 80 yards receiving for the Lyncs.
Mount Baker 55, Nooksack Valley 21: The Mountaineers jumped on top early when Jay Allen blocked a punt on the Pioneers’ first drive and Toby Jefferson scooped and scored. Mount Baker is also part of the three-way tie atop the NWC 1A standings.
Big plays proved to be the difference, as Mount Baker (4-2, 2-1) got two touchdowns each from Jason Lee, Kobee Malone and Sam Barrett and another from Kaleb Bass.
Nooksack Valley (3-3, 0-3) kept things close, though, and Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said he was impressed with how the Pioneers continued to battle and keep the pressure on the Mountaineers.
Sehome 33, Cedarcrest 0: The Mariners used a stingy defense to remain in the hunt for the top seed out of the NWC 2A Lake Division. Sehome (3-3, 2-1) held the Red Wolves to 92 total yards offense — 49 rushing and 43 passing — and got two interceptions by Jay Travier and a fumble recovery by Koa Ostos.
Offensively, Jacob Kaepernick passed for 293 yards and four touchdowns. Austin Roberts was his top target, catching three of his scoring tosses and recording 173 yards receiving, while Dylan Roberts rushed for 74 yards.
Bellingham 41, Anacortes 0: The Red Raiders kept pace with Mountlake Terrace for the top spot in the 2A NWC Lake Division with its second shutout victory of the season. Bellingham (4-2, 3-0) and Mountlake Terrace will meet next week in Edmonds. No other information was provided from Friday’s game.
Mountlake Terrace 40, Blaine 0: The Borderites’ offensive struggles continued, as they remained winless in 2A NWC Lake Division play. Blaine (2-4, 0-3) has scored 19 total points in the last four weeks after scoring 92 during the first two. The good news is Blaine’s playoff hopes are still alive with games against Cedarcrest and Anacortes — the two teams they’re battling for the fourth and final Week 9 playoff berth — the next two weeks.
Mountlake recovered a pair of onside kicks, but Blaine’s defense had a good night, coach Jay Dodd said, led by Hudson Reid, defensive lineman Gavino Rodriguez and linebacker Ethan Deming. Safety Seth Blomeen also had a good game in his second start.