Now entering his fifth season as Lynden Christian’s football coach, Galen Kaemingk has improved his team each season.
From a two-win season, to a four-win season, to a six-win campaign, to last year’s six-win, .500-plus season, the Lyncs are ascending.
Could all that improvement manifest into a state playoff game that’s eluded Kaemingk since he’s taken over?
Time will tell, but there’s a lot reason to like Lynden Christian in 2015.
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The Lyncs bring back eight seniors and 10 juniors, but the returners have quite a bit of starting experience, and it all starts with third-year quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender.
“If you do have one position where experience is good, that is one,” Kaemingk said of his QB situation.
Roetcisoender has progressed nicely each season, and the Lyncs will undoubtedly be relying on him, especially when it comes to moving the chains and protecting the ball.
“When we got in trouble last year was when we turned the ball over offensively, so if we can eliminate and cut down those turnovers (that will bode well),” Kaemingk said.
LC graduated key receivers, but Roetcisoender’s brother, Zach Roetcisoender, gives Lucas one of the better athletes in the Northwest Conference to throw to. Expect Tyson Cline, Nate Hielkma and Taiji Van Dalen to see targets, too.
Senior’s John-Mark Stromberg and Eric Vree headline an offensive line Kaemingk said has potential but lacks depth. Junior Kolton Korthuis returns varsity experience, and Joshua Jacobsen and Isaac Flluk could round out the Lyncs’ starting five.
LC graduated just about ever running back that logged a carry last season, so Kaemingk is hoping the trio of David Bladies, Gavin Mumford and Jordan Riddle can offer some needed production.
“We have to win the turnover battle, and we have to be able to run the ball,” Kaemingk said.
Defensively, Lynden Christian’s most talented grouping may be its linebacking corps, which is led by Lucas Roetcisoender, Nathan Wynstra and Bladies.
Bladies could emerge as a breakout player. Concussion issues prevented him from playing much last fall, but he’s big and fast and flashed his athleticism during track and field last spring.
Zach Roetcisoender highlights what will be a mostly reworked secondary, and Kyle Tiemersma, Stromberg, Vree and Korthuis solidify LC’s defensive line.
“Our defense has always done a good job of taking the ball away,” Kaemingk said.
Offensive starters from 2014 returning for Lynden Christian in 2015.
Defensive starters from 2014 returning for Lynden Christian in 2015.
Number of rush yards (out of 1,549) graduated players accounted for last year.
Number of combined
seniors and juniors on Lynden Christian’s roster.
Players to watch
Now entering his third year as LC’s starting quarterback, the Lyncs have big expectations for Roetcisoender.
Tiemersma gives the Lyncs a strong pass-rushing presence, a solid tight end and is one of the team’s defensive leaders.
Roetcisoender is a gifted athlete. Expect to see a lot of the Roetcisoender-to-Roetcisoender connection.
Kaemingk is a little worried about his offensive line’s depth, but there’s no question regarding Stormberg’s value.
Three keys to 2015
1. PROTECT THE ROCK
Although the Lyncs recorded a plus-three turnover ratio last fall, Kaemingk said his Lyncs coughed up the ball too many times and in crucial moments. Cherishing possession will be paramount.
2. WHO’S NEXT?
After graduating players who accounted for 1,444 of Lynden Christian’s 1,549 rushing yards last fall, the Lyncs need a player to fill the void. Kaemingk said Bladies, Mumford and Riddle could be prime candidates.
3. MOVE THE CHAINS
A three-and-out not only prevents the offense from getting into a rhythm, it also beats down defenders who have to go back on the field so quickly. Lynden Christian has to use the clock to its advantage and dictate the pace of the game.
The Lyncs seem to be on the rise after winning two league games and finishing over .500 last fall. LC should be competitive again, but finishing above Meridian and Mount Baker will be tough.
at Mount Baker*
at Nooksack Valley*
*NWC 1A game; ^At Civic Stadium
George De Jong
Houston De Jong
Blake De Ruyter
Landon Van Berkum
Taiji Van Dalen
Ty Van Dyken
2014 Season recap
(6-4, 2-4 NWC 1A)
at Nooksack Valley*
at Mount Baker*
*NWC 1A game
Jake Van Berkum
Alex Vander Velden
Ty Vander Yacht