Lynden pulled away from Squalicum during the second half of the teams’ Northwest Conference opener to score a 49-24 win Friday, Sept. 19, at Civic Stadium, but the Lions played much in the second half without several key starters.
Injuries took a toll on both teams, as junior Storm two-way player Creighton Kaui suffered an ugly lower leg injury early in the game, but Lynden’s ability to handle an up-and-coming Storm team while missing key pieces stood out.
Senior wide receiver Scooter Hastings didn’t return in the second half after injuring his lower leg while slipping in the end zone following a 28-yard touchdown reception. Last year’s Class 2A State Player of the Year, Trent Postma, left in the third quarter after taking a big shot along the sideline, and two-way player Trey Shagren left in the first half with a lower-body injury.
Jonathan Whetnall filled in admirably at wide receiver, and Dalton Ohligshclager and Sterling Somers picked up the lost running production.
“The most unusual aspect was we were playing with a number of backups with the amount of injuries we had,” Lions coach Curt Kramme said. “That was probably the worst game that I can recall of losing starters. There were times we had four of five backups in. We tell our backups you have to be ready all the time, and their numbers got called this evening, and obviously they came through.”
Lynden outscored Squalicum 28-14 in the second half.
Fritsch impresses in loss to Ferndale
Blaine struggled getting its passing game going against Ferndale Friday night, Sept. 19, at Blaine in a 33-14 Northwest Conference loss, but the Borderites’ running game proved difficult to hold down.
Sophomore tailback Riley Fritsch was a dynamic threat for coach Jay Dodd, accounting for 97 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Most of his yardage came in the first half when Blaine’s offense was putting together more well-rounded drives.
Fritsch made his presence known early when he busted loose for a 25-yard carry in the first drive of the game, breaking off left tackle and out-running two Ferndale defenders.
“We were able to run the ball pretty well in the first half,” Dodd said, “and that created opportunities with the play action. We were able to move the sticks. We were able to move the ball a little bit in the first half and put up some points.”
In that opening drive, which spanned 70 yards and 10 plays, Fritsch accounted for five carries and 39 yards before Nate Kramme hit Josh Fakkema for an 8-yard score.
Ferndale’s defense would eventually wear down the Borderites’ offensive line, and many of the chunk-yardage plays Fritsch and fellow tailback Kier Munzanreder were getting in the first half just weren’t there in the second.
In total, Blaine rushed the ball for 126 yards on 33 carries. Kramme finished 9-of-21 passing for 101 yards, a touchdown and a late interception.
Mariners spread the wealth in big win
Sehome shut down the Anacortes rushing attack and held Seahawks receiver Ty Johnson without a touchdown as the Mariners earned a 38-7 Northwest Conference victory on Friday, Sept. 19, in Anacortes.
The Mariners also spread the ball around, using eight different players to run the ball, and an additional three had receptions.
Sehome quarterback Gavin Kaepernick likes having so many weapons at his disposal because he can always find a playmaker open.
"Having so many weapons makes everyone equally open," Kaepernick said.
Once Sehome had used Taylor Rapp’s speed and ability to find holes to establish the run, Kaepernick was able to counter with the pass.
He was able to find receivers in the middle, including one where Gunnar Nelson broke the tackle of his defender and ran into the end zone for a 25-yard passing touchdown.
He found receivers deep downfield, like when he hit Nelson for a 65-yard touchdown. Nelson was wide open, and a streaking Anacortes defender missed his diving attempt to bat down the pass, leaving Nelson with nobody between himself and the end zone.
And he found receivers in short distances, including multiple screens to Rapp when nobody else was open. Rapp even took one such pass 74 yards for a touchdown, dancing around defenders all the way to the end zone.
"We have a great receiving corps," Sehome coach Bob Norvell said after the game.
That talented receiving has led the Mariners to a 2-1 overall record, including 1-0 in the Northwest Conference. They’ll look to further their impact against Blaine at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, at Civic Stadium.
Red Raiders defense looked good despite allowing 41 points
Forget what the score was, Bellingham’s defense was the highlight of the night in a 41-0 blowout loss at the hands of Lynden Christian on Friday, Sept. 19.
The Red Raiders defense was put in several bad positions, which led to the big 41 on the scoreboard. But that scoreline could have been much worse.
It’s hard to pick out the best play of the night for the defense. It could have been Eric Thompson’s leaping interception in his own end zone or the absolute shutdown the Red Raiders put on the Lyncs to force a turnover on downs when LC started on Bellingham’s 4-yard line.
It also could have been the mere 68 rushing yards the Red Raiders allowed in the first half on 15 carries, a 4.53 yards-per-carry average. What was Bellingham allowing going into the game? 7.3 yards per carry. That’s a huge improvement.
“The defense played really well,” Bellingham coach Ted Flint said after the game. “We put them in some bad positions with what we did on offense but the defense played really well.”
But what was more impressive than all of those things was that the defense didn’t let up. Even when the offense couldn’t generate a lengthy drive to keep the defense off the field, the defense stepped up.
All the plays mentioned above came after something went wrong for the offense. Thompson’s pick came after Kalien Hayes’ intercepted pass, the goal-line stand came after a bobbled punt.
It’s a sign of something better to come for the Red Raiders, especially now that the schedule gets easier.
Diverse offense keys Meridian’s blowout win
The Meridian Trojans have a strong defense, great running game and a veteran quarterback to thank for their 35-0 victory over the Chelan Mountain Goats.
The Trojans made a number of offensive mistakes during the first half, two turnovers, penalties and several dropped balls. But their defense kept them ahead, not allowing the Mountain Goats to put so much as a point on the board.
Meridian kept up the excellent play during the second half, shutting Chelan out while holding the Mountain Goats to little yardage.
"We stayed basic on defense," Trojan head coach Bob Ames said. "Then we held on for dear life."
A lot of the Trojan success offensively came from a running game that simply would not quit. Meridian ran the ball early and often, rushing 40 times during the game.
Finally, senior quarterback Tanner Tutterrow was a steadying presence at the helm of Meridian’s offense. Despite throwing an early interception, Tutterrow was never flustered, finishing the game strong with two touchdowns passing and one rushing.
Beginning in the second half, Tutterrow led a much faster-paced offense. He noticed during the first half that Chelan was slow lining up to the ball, so after the half he looked to speed up the tempo.
“We noticed they weren’t ready for our fast-paced offense," Tutterrow said.
That turned out to be the case, as the Trojans scored four touchdowns in the second half to take the game in dominant fashion.
Strong defense, strong running and intelligent play at quarterback typically lead to strong wins, and things were no different in this one.
Yet another up-and-coming Hoskins for Lummi
Stanford Hoskins, a 5-foot-6, 175-pound freshman running back/linebacker, thrilled older brother Hank Hoskins by making contributions both offensively and defensively in Lummi’s 60-12 nonleague win over Seattle Lutheran.
On Stanford’s first varsity carry, he picked up 15 yards in the second quarter, bringing to mind how hungry recently graduated five-year standout Deion Hoskins and junior quarterback Hank were when they were eighth graders (who are allowed to play if they’re good enough) as freshmen.
If nothing else, Stanford will have a lot of film to study if he wants to take football that seriously. If he plays throughout his high school days, that would mean the three Hoskins boys would have played a combined 15 seasons over a nine-year span.
Stanford is one of several young backfield newcomers who are trying to provide better depth than some Lummi teams have had, as outstanding as they generally have been for more than a decade.
In all, Blackhawks coach Jim Sandusky used 11 rushers against Seattle Lutheran, which was half of all the players he had available. And the running wasn’t all by Hank, who was so effective on quarterback keepers that he gained 101 yards on seven carries. The other 10 runners amassed 156 yards on 26 carries.
Hank, a converted lineman, completed passes to seven different receivers, who caught nine balls for 253 yards.
Assistant coach Dean Pederson eagerly pointed out that his new offensive line regulars, senior Adam Lawrence, junior Terrance Solomon and sophomore Devin Lawrence, had a lot to do with Lummi’s 510 yards of total offense, along with freshman backup Jakob Washington.
At Lummi, finding durable linemen is usually a bit tougher than discovering backfield depth, so Pederson couldn’t help but break into a series of wide grins in the second half. Having three starting guys who combine to weigh 760 pounds is a real luxury in eight-man football.
With so much depth to develop, it’s no wonder the coaches are fans of the state’s running clock rule, which goes into effect as soon as a team achieves a 40-point lead in the second half. Not many years ago, Lummi had to stop playing when the Blackhawks reached a 45-point advantage after halftime, leaving youngsters like Stanford Hoskins more than a little frustrated.