The Borderites’ offense may have wavered at times, but there was no doubting the dominance of Blaine’s No. 1 defense.
Nearly all of Blaine’s first half-points —and there were many — came on the heels of big defensive plays. In all, the Borderites recovered four fumbles, had two interceptions, a safety and two defensive touchdowns within the first 24 minutes.
And Blaine’s offense more often than not capitalized, as the Borderites overwhelmed Kelowna, earning a 54-28 non-conference win Saturday afternoon, Sept. 6, in Blaine.
“Well, we got a lot of things to work on in all phases of football,” Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. “We did some good things on defense early on, created some turnovers, rallied to the football, so that was a big positive for us.”
Sophomore Anthony Ball, who caught two TD passes from quarterback Nate Kramme, had a first-half interception. Austin Trahan returned an interception 26 yards for a score, and Gunnar Arnason pounced on a Kelowna fumble in the Owls’ end zone for a TD.
The Borderites zoomed out to a quick 40-0 lead, so their No. 1s weren’t in long, but the defense made the most of its time.
Kelowna recorded just two first downs and negative 9 yards rushing in the first half. Minus an 80-yard touchdown pass, Blaine would have given up only 18 total yards through the first two quarters.
“I feel like our No. 1s on defense played just absolutely stellar defense,” Kramme said. “I mean, granted Kelowna had a few offensive mistakes, but our defense was on top of it. It’s probably the best defense I’ve ever been a part of.”
Kramme wasn’t bad operating the offense, either.
The senior signal-caller guided the Borderites to four first-half offensive touchdowns. Twice he connected with Ball —once for a 14-yard fade route to start the scoring and later an 8-yard fade right before the half. He did, though, throw two interceptions and finished with 107 yards.
The Borderites successfully used a trio of running backs. Sophomore Riley Fritsch, a smaller, shiftier back, led the way with 163 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Junior Kier Munzanreder punished any defender in his path, compiling 63 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
“They both gave us lots of different things,” Dodd said. “Basically, they complement each other really well, and so does Rudy Nolasco. All three of our running backs give us a little something different.”
Blaine was in complete control of the game, but Kelowna began clawing back in the third quarter, as the Borderites went deeper and deeper into their bench.
The Owls scored the first three touchdowns of the second half to cut Blaine’s lead to 47-28, but Kelowna never seriously threatened.
Dodd did, however, put his offensive starters back in late, and Fritsch capped the 54-point effort with a 75-yard touchdown run with 3:58 to go in the fourth quarter.
“It was pretty good,” said senior lineman Jon Fakkema of the win. “Our defense did really well. We started subbing in some No. 2s in the second half, and we kind of wavered a little bit.”
The Borderites host Granite Falls next at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5.
Bla — Anthony Ball 14 pass from Nate Kramme (Kyle Sentkowski kick)
Bla — Riley Fritsch 3 run (kick fail)
Bla — Gunnar Arnason fumble recovery (Arnason pass from Kramme)
Bla — Safety
Bla — Kier Munzanreder 3 run (Sentkowski kick)
Bla — Sentkowski 32 field goal
Bla — Austin Trahan 26 interception return (Sentkowski kick)
Kel — Seth Campbell 80 pass from Parker Simpson
Bla — Ball 8 pass from Kramme (Sentkowski kick)
Kel — Adam DiBiase 40 pass from Simpson (pass fail)
Kel — DiBiase 5 pass from Simpson (Callum Reid kick)
Kel — Simpson pass from Reid (Reid kick)
Bla — Fritsch 75 run (Sentkowski kick)
RUSHING — Kelowna: Seth Campbell 12-31, Parker Simpson 5-57, Trevor Ash 1-1, Callum Reid 4-(-2). Blaine: Riley Fritsch 15-163, Kier Munzanreder 10-63, Nate Kramme 4-27, Rudy Nolasco 3-23.
PASSING — Kelowna: Parker Simpson 7-21-153-2, Callum Reid 3-9-57-1. Blaine: Nate Kramme 10-18-107-2, Jalen Kortlever 0-2-0-1.
RECEIVING — : Kelowna: Seth Campbell 4-106, Adam DiBiase 3-72, Zackari Zint 1-2, Parker Simpson 2-30 . Blaine: Anthony Ball 3-37, Kier Munzanreder 2-40, Kaden Foster 1-16, Rudy Nolasco 1-11, Carl De Belen 1-2, Jon Anderson 1-1, Cody Gobbato 1-0.