Blaine’s football team had no trouble dispatching of Anacortes on Friday, Oct. 10, at Anacortes High School.
The Borderites earned a 31-19 Northwest Conference win behind Riley Fritsch’s 241 rushing yards on 40 rushes and two touchdowns.
Blaine wasn’t even sure if it would have Fritsch coming into the game, as he was recovering from a leg injury.
On the first drive, Fritsch shared carries with Layton Hagee and Steven Crafts most of the drive, but proved he was healthy enough to carry a big load.
“Riley was banged up and we wanted to see what he could do,” Blaine coach Jay Dodd said.
The final four plays of the drive were all handoffs to Fritsch, who took them for a total of 24 yards and a touchdown.
He was also the ball carrier on six of the next seven plays the Borderites ran.
The frequent use and success of Fritsch coaxed Anacortes’ defense into over-committing to the run, opening up the pass.
“It was questionable if he could come out, but when he did it opened up the play-action,” quarterback Nathan Kramme said.
Kramme really benefited from the open field Fritsch’s running created, completing 9 of 13 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Kramme was also effective in spreading the ball around, finding five different receivers in the contest.
He flashed his passing prowess early in the second quarter when he found Gunnar Arnason going across the middle. Arnason was able to haul in a one-handed pass because of how well Nathan led him.
The play-action catching the defense off guard was on display in the third quarter after Fritsch had rattled off seven consecutive rushes for 40 yards. After a holding penalty backed up the Borderites, Kramme used the play action and found Cody Gobbato for an 8-yard completion.
Following the completion, Fritsch tried to find a hole in the middle, but Anacortes held him to just 1 yard. With the defense assuming another pass was coming on third-and-long, Fritsch was able to find a big hole and took the ball 31 yards to the end zone.
The next drive looked very similar, with Fritsch running three times to start the drive and Kramme trying the play-action pass again, but this time it was incomplete. Fritsch tried a couple more runs for 9 yards, and this time the play-action worked with Kramme finding Anthony Ball deep in the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
Kramme also came up big on a fourth down in the fourth quarter. With his team up 24-7 and the ball on the Anacortes 21, Kramme scrambled away from the defensive front and hit tight end Josh Fakkema for a 20-yard pass. Fakkema tried to stretch out for the end zone as he was tackled, but came up just short. Anacortes stuffed a run attempt, and Kramme found Fakkema on the next play in the back corner of the end zone.
But Anacortes didn’t want to let up, taking the ball 80 yards on the next possession, thanks mostly to a 47-yard touchdown pass from Camden McLaughlin to Ty Johnson.
The Borderites had tried to take away the pass most of the game and found enough success to hold off Anacortes, but the Seahawks were effective in the fourth.
“We wanted to take away the pass,” Dodd said. “We usually have seven in the box, but we pulled one out this week so we had six in the box.”
After a failed onside kick, Blaine tried to run out the clock with a series of rushes. After an Anacortes timeout on Blaine’s third down, the Borderites went to the pass with Ball hauling in Kramme‘s bullet to set up fourth and 4. Hagee was unable to get the full 4 on the final play to give the ball back to the Seahawks midway through the fourth.
McLaughlin was on the same wavelength as his receivers on the next drive, finding Jordan Neville, Jay Kiesser and Joe D’Amelio for a total of 54 yards on three passes. After three incompletions on attempts to Johnson set up a fourth-and-goal on the Blaine 5-yard line, McLauglin finally found D’Amelio for the touchdown to put the Borderites within striking distance of Blaine’s lead with three minutes left.
With Anacortes starting to creep up on them, the Borderites remained calm following another failed onside kick and relied on the run to finish the game and run out the clock.
Blaine improves to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in NWC play. Anacortes falls to 1-5 overall and 0-4 in the conference.
Bla — Riley Fritsch 2 run (Kyle Sentkowski kick)
Bla — Sentkowski 33 field goal
Ana — Joe D’Amelio 26 pass from Camden McLaughlin (Zachary Bowman kick)
Bla — Fritsch 31 run (Senkowski kick)
Bla — Anthony Ball 30 pass from Nathan Kramme (Sentkowski kick)
Bla — Josh Fakkema 1 pass from Kramme (Sentkowski kick)
Ana — Ty Johnson 47 pass from McLaughlin (Bowman kick)
Ana — D’Amelio 5 pass from McLaughlin (Bowman kick)
RUSHING — Blaine: Riley Fritsch 40-241, Layton Hagee 6-17, Nathan Kramme 6-22, Steven Crafts 3-12. Anacortes: P.J. Monroe 10-37, Joe D’Amelio 6-4, Camden McLaughlin 1-(-3), Ty Johnson 3-27.
PASSING — Blaine: Nathan Kramme 9-13-112-0-0. Anacortes: Camden McLaughlin 15-25-227-0-0.
RECEIVING — : Blaine: Gunnar Arnason 2-27, Anthony Ball 3-46, Cody Gobbato 2-18, Josh Fakkema 2-21. Anacortes: Ty Johnson 4-82, Joe D’Amelio 5-75, Jordan Neville 5-65, Jay Kiesser 1-5.