The Mount Baker football team has not only piled up the frequent flier mileage the past two weeks with trips to the east side of the state, it’s also piled up a pair of big wins.
Backing up its big Week 2 win over Oroville, the Mountaineers rode a powerful run game and a stingy defense to a 42-6 non-conference victory over Cascade on Friday, Sept. 19.
“Our defense played extremely well,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said in a phone interview. “They (Cascade) had good team speed. We were a little concerned about their speed coming in. But we took good angles and made some sure tackles tonight. ... No one guy stood out, defensively — it was a great team effort.”
The Mountaineers (2-1) were so stingy that they allowed fewer than five first downs until late in the game, Lepper said.
Mount Baker was just as dominating on the ground on offense, rolling up 379 yards on 42 attempts (9.0 average) — more than enough to offset an air attack that did not complete a pass on four attempts.
Liam Short, in his second game since returning from injury, led the team with 120 yards on 15 carries.
“He’s still got to get better condition-wise, but he ran the ball well tonight,” Lepper said. “He showed good speed on the long run (a 54-yard TD in the third quarter). He’s showing a little more confidence. We didn’t come in thinking we’d give it to him 15 times, but he looked good.”
Short had 4-yard TD runs in each of the first two quarters to stake the Mountaineers a 14-0 halftime lead.
Mount Baker added Mason Bass’ 48-yard TD run and Short’s longer run in the third, before Jed Schleimer scored from 5 yards out and Zach Yurchuck capped off the night with a 65-yard TD run.
Yurchuk, whom Lepper singled out for his outstanding play on special teams, rushed for 83 yards on six carries, while Schleimer finished with 65 yards and Bass had 59.
After the two long trips, Mount Baker stays a little closer to home next week, when the Mountaineers head to Nooksack Valley to open Northwest Conference 1A play.
“I’m really proud of the kids,” Lepper said. “These have been two long trips, and we’ve done what we wanted to do. We got better last week, and I think we improved this week.”
MB — Liam Short 4 run (Zane Smith kick)
MB — Short 4 run (Smith kick)
MB — Mason Bass 48 run (Smith kick)
MB — Short 54 run (Smith kick)
Cas — Wyatt Guthrie 5 run (kick blocked)
MB — Jed Schleimer 5 run (Smith kick)
MB — Zach Yurchuk 65 run (Smith kick)
RUSHING — Mount Baker: Liam Short 15-120, Zach Yurchuk 6-83, Jed Schleimer 9-65, Johnny Matta 4-49, Carson Branlan 1-2, Carson Engholm 1-1, Thomas Barbo 1-0, Mason Bass 5-59. Cascade: Not available.
PASSING — Mount Baker: Mason Bass 0-4-0-0. Cascade: Not available.
RECEIVING — Mount Baker: None. Cascade: Not available.