Older Lynden fans will recall the once often-used football phrase “3 yards and a cloud of dust.” The Lions turned that into the high school version of “4 yards and a chunk of mud” while showing their offensive versatility with what they felt was a redemptive win.
Senior quarterback/receiver Brock Heppner often piles up statistics as a pass-catcher. But his career-high 28 carries for 140 yards and three touchdowns in Class 2A Lynden’s 33-21 non-conference win over 3A rival Ferndale in a steady rain Friday displayed how well he can run.
“We just wanted redemption,” said third-year varsity regular Heppner, referring to the Lions’ 21-14 loss to 1A Mount Baker in their opener last week. “I feel relieved.”
Quick senior running back Steven DiLorenzo, back in form after missing most of last season with an injury, amassed 95 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown for the Lions (1-1). Promising 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior Baylor Ayres gained 52 yards and scored on a 10-yard run as the Lions’ only other ball carrier.
For the first time in recent memory, only one pass completion played a role in any of Lynden’s five touchdown drives of 27, 60, 72, 50 and 53 yards.
“We have to give our offensive line great credit,” said Heppner, pointing out that senior left tackle Harley Vandenberg is the only returning full-time starter. The other linemen are junior left guard Christian Bethea, line captain and senior center Marty Karb, junior right guard Matthew Furdyk and 6-foot-6, 265-pound senior right tackle Michael Bareman, a newcomer to football. Karb missed much of last season with an injury.
Heppner said the line’s development is helping make him more effective than ever as a runner, along with the speedy Ayres.
Three defensive plays were keys for Lynden: a fumble recovery by senior linebacker Jordan Elsner on the 1-yard line at the end of the first half; an interception by another unheralded senior, Elijah Diacogiannis, on Ferndale‘s first possession of the second half; and a stop on the Ferndale 27 on the Golden Eagles’ first possession of the game after a botched punt attempt.
“No question, Jordan’s fumble recovery was huge and Elijah’s interception was big,” Lynden coach Blake Van Dalen said. “If Ferndale had scored at the end of the first half (which could have produced a 14-3 lead for the Eagles), that makes it a different game. As it was, we scored on our first drive to open the second half (for a 19-7 lead) and then Elijah made that big INT.”
Elsner, who has worked hard to become a first-year starter, was thrilled to make his biggest contribution to the program.
“I just saw the ball pop out of the pile and I dove on it,” Elsner said of stopping an impressive 65-yard, eight-play drive.
Ferndale’s push was produced with strong running by senior Jacob Broselle, who finished with 110 yards on 11 carries, and 200-pound sophomore Ryan Pelton, who amassed 95 yards on 15 carries. Pelton also had 72 yards on three receptions, including touchdown tosses of 2 and 15 yards from junior quarterback Haiden Rasmussen, the second with 44 seconds to play. In tough conditions, Rasmussen went 5 for 113 for 108 yards with one interception and his first two varsity scoring passes.
“I saw some good things,” Ferndale coach Jamie Plenkovich said. “There was a lot we can take away from this. We’re dealing with some adversity (losses to 2018 4A finalist Lake Stevens and 2A finalist Lynden). … We have to put on our hard hats Monday” (and get after it).
Some of those good things were on display in the opening half for Ferndale (0-2). With Lynden up 7-0, Ferndale sophomore Jazen Guillory made an interception on Ferndale’s 16.
The Golden Eagles drove 84 yards on 11 plays to score on Broselle’s 3-yard run, and James Werth’s conversion kick tied it at 7-7. Broselle’s 37-yard catch-and-run highlighted the drive.
Lynden responded with a 33-yard kickoff return by junior Caleb Wheeler, setting up a 13-play, 60-yard touchdown drive, with DiLorenzo scoring from the 5 for a 13-7 advantage.
Heppner’s 9-yard run capped Lynden’s 18-play, 72-yard drive on which Heppner accounted for 55 yards on 11 carries. On Lynden’s ensuing series, Baylor ran for 12 and 22 yards, setting up his 10-yard score for a 26-7 advantage on the second play of the fourth quarter..
On Lynden’s final possession, Heppner flipped to Elijah Lyons for 4 yards on fourth and 3, setting up Heppner’s 1-yard score.
In their next games, Lynden welcomes Steilacoom and Ferndale is at Marysville-Getchell, both on Friday.
Other Friday games
Mount Baker 28, Sehome 10: The 1A Mounties (2-0) rallied from a 10-7 second-quarter deficit as Ayden Rodriguez scored three touchdowns, one being a reception from quarterback Mason Jacoby. Jason Lee ran for the other score.
Baker scored on a safety to pull within 10-9 of the 2A Mariners before taking a 15-10 halftime lead.
Miguel Zavala went 4 for 5 on conversion kicks.
Melloy Nelson kicked a short field goal for Sehome and quarterback Jacob Kaepernick scored on a keeper. (Complete statistics for the game were not yet available.)
Baker coach Ron Lepper noted that senior defensive end Kris Flowers, a first-year starter, helped shut out the Mariners in the second half.
Despite Baker’s strong start, Lepper said his inexperienced players “have to do a better job of focusing on our current opponent. I don‘t think (in the wake of last week‘s upset over Lynden) we were as focused as we should have been.
Lepper said the Mounties figure to get a strong test from Leavenworth Cascade (2-0) on Friday at Peshastin-Dryden Stadium. Sehome will meet Centralia at 1 p.m. Saturday at Civic Stadium.
Nooksack Valley 42, Granite Falls 0: The 1A Pioneers (1-1) amassed 281 yards on their six touchdowns alone (complete statistics were not yet available).
Dane Winter, a converted lineman off to a strong start at running back as a senior, scored on a 25-yard run, and Ryan Veening caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Cole Eldridge, a converted running back, for a 14-0 halftime lead.
The Pioneers, displaying an abundance of speed, scored four touchdowns in the third quarter: Eldridge with 47-yard run on a designed quarterback play; Winter on a 62-yard dash; Brandon Leyba on a 44-yard run for his first varsity touchdown; and Eldridge on a 61-yard run.
Aiden Conner made good on 4 of 5 conversion kicks.
Nooksack coach Robb Myhre noted that Easton Zylstra continued to play well at defensive tackle and that Nate Steele did a solid job at linebacker. Scout Whittern had an interception.
Nooksack will play host to North Sound League 1A power King’s on Friday.
Lummi 12, La Conner 6 (OT): Running back Caleb Revey — who came in at quarterback late in the defensive struggle for injured Isaiah Jefferson — threw a 16-yard pass to Jaie Leighton to win a Kansas Tiebreaker in an 11-man game at La Conner. Leighton set up his score with an interception on fourth-and-10 after Lummi won the coin toss and opted to play defense first.
“That was a fine throw and a great catch of a pass that went about 30 yards in the air,” said Lummi coach Jim Sandusky. “That was not an easy catch.”
Lummi, a Class B1 eight-man power that usually plays at least one 11-man game each season, won such a game for the first time in three years.
Lummi (2-0) tied the game 6-6 in the fourth quarter when Leighton caught a mid-range pass from Jefferson.
Sandusky credited outside linebackers Revey and Miguel Ortez with strong efforts along with sophomore cornerback Franklin Whiteman, a newcomer to football.
Lummi will play host to Muckleshoot on Friday at 7 p.m.
Arlington 33, Squalicum 7: The Storm (1-1, 0-1) fell to one of the Wesco’s top teams in Arlington (2-0, 1-0) in a 3A North Division opener as Cole Cramer and Cade Younger returned interceptions 34 yards and 95 yards, respectively.
Cesar Vasquez caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mason Binning with seven seconds left in the first half, slicing Arlington’s lead to 13-7. Binning finished 17 for 29 for 117 yards and three interceptions and Ben Schlenbaker rushed 30 times for 181 yards and caught five passes for 39 yards.
Squalicum will face Marysville-Pilchuck on Friday at Civic Stadium. M-P’s 20-14 win last year was Squalicum’s lone league loss.
Squalicum came off a 34-26 win over Redmond in which Schlenbaker ran for 228 yards and scored three touchdowns, one being a 60-yard run, and Binning threw for 177 yards with touchdown passes to Reed Richardson and Kai Posey. Vasquez and Garrett Jabora led the Storm’s defense, coach Nick Lucey said.
Lord Tweedsmuir 21, Blaine 0: The Borderites fell to 1-1 with a loss to one of the perennial powers in British Columbia. The Borderites will face a stiff test Friday at Lynden Christian (1-0), which did not play this week. No other information was provided.
Lakewood 49, Bellingham 0: 2A Sky Division host Lakewood (2-0) prevailed over 2A Lake Division foe Bellingham in a non-league game. Bellingham lost 49-6 to Lynden Christian last week. No other information was provided. Bellingham will continue a challenging non-league schedule at Sammamish on Friday.
Marysville-Pilchuck vs. Squalicum at Civic Stadium, 7 p.m.
Ferndale at Marysville-Getchell, 7 p.m.
Blaine at Lynden Christian, 7 p.m.
Steilacoom at Lynden, 7 p.m.
King’s at Nooksack Valley, 7 p.m.
Mount Baker vs. Leavenworth Cascade at Peshastin-Dryden Stadium, 7 p.m.
Bellingham at Sammamish, 7 p.m.
Muckleshoot at Lummi, 7 p.m.
Sehome vs. Centralia at Civic Stadium, 1 p.m.
Amador (Calif.) at Meridian, 5 p.m.