In football, it is not about how a team starts the game, but rather how it finishes it.
The Bellingham Red Raiders can attest to that saying as they squeaked by with a victory over the Friday Harbor by a score of 21-19 on Friday, October 3, at Civic Stadium in a nonconfernce matchup.
Bellingham came charging out of the gate with energy carried over from last week’s victory. The Red Raiders stuck to running hard up the middle and allowed senior running back Tanner Aliff to break off big plays.
Aliff finished the night with 228 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“(Our mindset) was the same as it always is,” Bellingham coach Ted Flint said. “We try to get better and learn how to improve after a win.”
After a quick defensive stop, Bellingham showed it’s well-rounded offense. A steady diet of runs from Aliff, sophomore wide receiver Mitchell Osorio and senior quarterback Kalien Hayes set up a 27-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Nick Knutson to senior wide receiver Eric Thompson.
Another 3-and-out forced by the Red Raider defense brought back the Bellingham offense. The third drive was capped off by Aliff running 19 yards for the score to send the Red Raiders into halftime up by a large margin.
“We had some extra stuff in that we added in this week,” Flint said regarding his opened up offense. “They adjusted and started to get aggressive. It took us a while to adjust but we did.”
An onside kick recovered by the Red Raiders was about the only thing that went well for them during the second half. Friday Harbor was able to pound away at the Red Raiders’ defense and score three times to nearly tie it up at 21.
In the final seconds of the game as the ball was snapped to Friday Harbor running back Peter Holt, it was fumbled and bounced away to the Bellingham 40-yard line and ran out the clock to deafening cheers by Bellingham fans, cheerleaders and players.
“We put in so much work this season and it paid off in the end,” Hayes said. “At the end, we just had to remember to go as hard as we can and we did that.”
The Red Raiders take the field again next Saturday, Oct. 11, against Bellevue Christian High School.
Bellingham — Tanner Aliff 37 run (King PAT good)
Bellingham — Nick Knutson 27 pass to Eric Thompson (King PAT good)
Bellingham — Aliff 19 run (King PAT good)
Friday Harbor — Pete Holt 13 pass to Luke Stromberg (Herko PAT good)
Friday Harbor — Holt 9 run (Herko PAT no good)
Friday Harbor — Bill Revercomb 18 pass to Stromberg (2 pt conversion no good)
Friday HarborFirst downs1610Rushing Att-yards52-32236-185Comp-Att-Int2-6-03-10-1Passing yards2426Penalties-yards7-445-30Fumbles-lost4-21-0
RUSHING – Bellingham: Tanner Aliff 31-228, Chris Thompson 1-8, Mitchell Osorio 11-38, Kalien Hayes 5-38, Sean Ryder 4-10. Friday Harbor: Bill Revercomb 8-26, Willie Blackmon 14-72, Kai Herko 2-6, Peter Holt 12-81.
PASSING – Bellingham: Nick Knutson 2-5-0-24, Kalien Haynes 0-1-0-0. Friday Harbor: Peter Holt 2-8-0-8, Bill Revercomb 1-2-1-18.
RECEIVING – Bellingham: Eric Thompson 1-27, Akash Kumar 1-(-3). Friday Harbor: Luke Stromberg 2-31, Bill Revercomb 1-(-5).