High School Football

Mount Baker’s secondary rises up

Meridian quarterback Tanner Tutterrow and his wide receiving corp for the better part of the first half was having its way with Mount Baker’s secondary Friday, Oct. 3, in Deming.

But the Mountaineers’ defensive backs responded by picking off Tutterrow four times from the second quarter on to help Baker secure a 33-25 Northwest Conference win.

Senior Johnny Mata recorded two picks, and Zach Yurchuk also claimed one. The biggest, however, was a game-clincher from Ruvim Tikhonov. Tikhonov jumped a route and returned the interception 40 yards to give Mount Baker an eight-point lead with seconds to go.

“We got torched early, receiving-wise,” Mount Baker coach Ron Lepper said, “but then Johnny Mata comes back and gets two picks. Ruvim gets the pick at the end. You’re going to get your chances, and you have to be able to capitalize and execute.”

Andrew Lang

Big night for ‘Big Mike’ and Squalicum D

At 6-foot-3, 380 pounds, Mike Banks is affectionately known as “Big Mike” by the Squalicum student body. After Friday, Oct. 3, that nickname might have to be changed to “Big Night Mike.”

The Storm nose tackle did a good job plugging the middle and was a big part of the reason Burlington-Edison had difficulty getting much going offensively during the first half, as Squalicum jumped out to a 28-7 lead by halftime.

At halftime, Banks was selected Homecoming king, and he carried that emtion into the second half, coming up with one of the biggest plays when his team needed it the most.

After the Tigers came out fired up and scored a quick touchdown, the Squalicum offense gave the ball right back with a three-and-out, and it was obvious that momentum had changed. But on the ensuing play, Banks pounced on a fumble to give the ball back to Squalicum.

It was the first of three big turnovers forced by Squalicum Friday, as Jess Swanson and Christian Jorgensen each added key interceptions in the final two minutes — Swanson’s allowing the Storm to tack on a game-clinching field goal.

David Rasbach

Mariners still juggling quarterback situation

Every football fan has probably heard the following saying at least once or twice during their time watching football. “If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.” The basic premise being that if there’s two guys a team is considering for the job, the likelihood is that neither one is all that great.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth in Whatcom County prep football this year, highlighted by Lynden’s 35-17 win over Sehome.

On Lynden’s first touchdown, it was starting quarterback Sterling Somers running to the outside, handing off to backup quarterback Clark Hazlett, who proceeded to chuck it 39 yards to Jonathan Whetnall in the end zone.

As for the Mariners, they rolled with senior quarterback Aaron Nichols over Gavin Kaepernick, who entered the game with 574 yards on 51 passes. Kaepernick only had one pass in the game.

The decision to go with Nichols didn’t look like a good one when Nichols completed only one of his first six passes, which also included an interception.

But Nichols changed as the game progressed. He started using his legs more in the second half, running for 30 yards on eight carries, and he started to find the athletic Taylor Rapp, who caught seven passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Going forward, Sehome has a decision to make at quarterback – Nichols or Kaepernick.

“Right now, they’re both on the block,” Norvell said.

But that might not be as bad as it seems, just look at what Lynden’s been able to do.

Josh Hart

Strong week of practice propelled Golden Eagles

After suffering a 28-6 loss to Burlington-Edison last week, the Ferndale football team got back to work, determined to put the loss in the past.

But what coach Jamie Plenkovich saw on the film surprised him a little after what felt like a big loss.

“After watching the film, we made mistakes, but there were good things up front,” he said.

Running back Marcus Nightingale echoed Kyler Schemstad’s thoughts from last week about wanting to be more physical coming into the Anacortes game.

“All week we practiced hard,” Nightingale said. “We practiced hard, and mentally we were in the right mindset.”

And it was evident in the game. After some early struggles, including trading fumbles with Anacortes, the Golden Eagles played their wing-T, smashmouth football and drove from their own 1-yard line 99 yards for a touchdown to open scoring. Nightingale kept the drive going with six rushes for 55 yards on the drive.

“That drive got us the momentum,” he said.

Nightingale finished with 14 carries for 140 yards, and Daniel Jones led the rushing attack with 11 carries on 220 yards.

In all, 12 Golden Eagles combined for 520 yards rushing, and the defense held Anacortes to just 72 yards rushing and 164 yards passing. It seems fair to say this was a Ferndale-style win all the way through.

Alex Peterson

Lyncs respond with big plays all night

Lynden Christian proved remarkably difficult to discourage during the 84-yard touchdown drive that produced a 7-7 tie with 14 seconds left in the first half against Nooksack Valley. It’s no wonder LC coach Galen Kaemingk stressed that 12-play drive set the tone for the Lyncs’ explosive four-touchdown showing in the third quarter of LC’s wild 48-20 win.

On third-and-4 from the Lyncs’ own 22-yard line, Jordan Jansen used his shifty, determined running style to burst 14 yards, preserving the drive early. Then, after Nooksack’s Blake Williams sacked junior quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender hard to fire up the Pioneers, Roetcisoender calmly gained a first down on third-and-14 with a nifty touch pass for 15 yards to Alex Vander Velden in an outstanding example of play-calling.

But that wasn’t all. After Nooksack’s Brady Wood broke up his second pass of the opening half with an athletic play, LC fullback Jake Van Berkum gained a vital 18 yards and a first down on Nooksack’s 35. Roetcisoender followed with a difficult 14-yard pass on the right sideline to Nathan Rusnak, setting up the rugged Van Berkum’s 18-yard touchdown burst.

Nooksack again went without injured receiver Joshua Gimmaka, although Willy Kingman — in his role as team receiving leader — did an outstanding job with nine catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns from Tanner Myhre.

The Pioneers also played without senior linebacker Curtis Handy, one of their defensive leaders, who sustained a shoulder separation in the first half of Nooksack’s loss to Mount Baker last week.

“I’m having an MRI on my shoulder Wednesday,” said Handy, who is also a good baseball pitching prospect.

Michelle Nolan

Myriad players contribute for Blackhawks

Depth, depth, depth. If there is nothing else to say about Jim Sandusky’s Lummi Blackhawks, they sure have a lot of offensive weapons.

The Blackhawks had eight players score on offense; they also had two punt returns and one interception return for a touchdown. Their high paced and aggressive offense scored at will, leaving their opponents baffled.

Lummi coaches and players credited two things to their success: strong offensive line play, and having many different, reliable offensive players.

“I had good protection all night,” Lummi quarterback Hank Hoskins said.

Hoskins credited his line for helping to keep the passing game in rhythm throughout the night.

For coach Sandusky, his team’s success was all about its depth.

“Every position is settled,” he said. “We’ve got a good rotation going.”

Lummi regularly plays 13-14 athletes throughout a game, Sandusky said, most of their opponents play only eight.

“We’ve gotten better each game,” Sandusky said. “And that’s what we strive for.”

John Boone

Red Raiders delve deeper into playbook

With powerful senior running back Tanner Aliff, Bellingham’s offense can found plenty of success running the ball.

However, Bellingham opened up the playbook a little bit and gave freshman quarterback Nick Knutson and senior quarterback Kalien Hayes a chance to prove their value.

Knutson found more success dropping back and throwing the football as he came away from the 21-19 victory over Friday Harbor 2 for 5 with passing 24 yards and a touchdown, while Hayes dropped back but was forced to use his legs more. Hayes finished 0 for 1 throwing, but rushed for 38 yards.

A more open playbook is what head coach Ted Flint was aiming for this week and the Red Raiders were able to earn their second win of the season because of it.

Jordan Whitford

Fritsch provides bright spot in tough loss

Even with a 37-7 loss for the Blaine Borderites in its game against Sedro-Woolley due to a lackluster performance on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, there is one aspect that the Borderites can feel good about: the running performance from sophomore Riley Fritsch.

Running the ball 26 times for a total of 103 yards, Fritsch’s average of 3.9 yards per rush happened to be overshadowed by Borderites’ miscues.

With a performance like this from Fritsch and what looks to be a struggling passing game for Blaine’s offense, look for coach Jay Dodd to lean more on his sophomore running back for more offensive production going forward.

Jake Kasowski