High School Football

PREP FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Passing game adds new dimension to Mountaineers attack

In the midst of Mount Baker football’s 20-7 loss to Sedro-Woolley Friday, Sept. 4, the Mountaineers showed a new weapon – an aerial attack.

Quarterback Mason Bass only attempted 53 passes all of last season. His total already is at 20 attempts just 48 minutes into the new year as the senior QB looked more than apt to lead a team looking for its fourth straight trip to the state tournament.

His stats weren’t gaudy – six completions for 51 yards – but he had some good passes and was unfortunate with a couple receiver drops, including one that would have been a touchdown.

“We missed a couple opportunities early but I thought it wasn’t just him, it’s the receivers too,” coach Ron Lepper said. “I thought it was just getting used to that in-game speed. We got to be able to throw the ball a bit, especially when people are going to put a lot of guys in the box.”

If Bass continues to improve, it makes Mount Baker more dynamic than ever. Don’t think the Mountaineers are abandoning the run anytime soon, though.

“It’s a balance we’re looking for,” Lepper said. “Obviously people know we want to run the ball and that’s what we’re going to do first but then we got to go and do some other things.”

Joshua Hart

Lack of run game crucial in Lynden’s loss

Lynden coach Curt Kramme admitted there wasn’t a whole lot to be pleased with during the Lions’ 21-14 loss against King’s on Friday, Sept. 4.

He pointed out poor tackling, especially on a Knights 67-yard TD run, some bad decisions by quarterback Sterling Somers and an ineffective offensive line. He even shouldered some of the blame, saying he didn’t have a good game calling plays.

What’s scary for the Lions, though, is that their deficencies seemed eerily reminsecent of their state title game woes last season.

Manufacturing productive offense was a struggle all night, and a big reason was the lack of a run game. The Lions finished with 34 rush yards on 24 attempts.

The rush totals are a ltitle skewed due to a number of sacks Somers took, but that’s another result of the issues up front. Somers was under seige much of the night, and Dalton Ohligschlager, who finished with 14 yards on nine carries, didn’t have much room to run.

The lack of run game forced Lynden to pass, and with the running threat mitigated, King’s was able to neutralize the Lions’ pass game.

“It was first-game stuff in that we had one of our offensive lineman out until halftime, and so we had a couple of pretty green guys out there,” Kramme said. “So we weren’t able to block the run as well. Combined with the first game, I had two really bad signals where I was signaling the wrong play, and so they were wondering what I was doing. And the kids made some mistakes. We can do better.”

Caden Lair, arguably Lynden’s top offensive lineman, was the player out for the first half, and the Lions were also without running back Brody Weinheimer, who gives Lynden more of a power-running presence. His return, combined with Lair and a full week of practice, will hopefully get Lynden’s run game in order.

If there’s anyone up for the task, it’s Kramme.

Andrew Lang

Young QB shine during Meridian-Hoquiam game

Meridian has played many games over the years with a multitude of passes, but the home fans have seldom seen a longer game than the Trojans’ 36-21 loss to Hoquiam.

The teams, far more often than not state tournament contenders, combined for 69 passes as they both started young new quarterbacks, netting 441 yards. Both signal-callers were impressive: Meridian sophomore Simon Burkett went 16 for 35 for 217 yards and one touchdown, while 6-foot-5 power-throwing junior Graham Dick completed 16 of 33 for 224 yards and three touchdowns.

In fact, both threw so hard they looked like they could wind up among the state’s best in Class 1A next season, if not this year.

Trojans coach Bob Ames, however, pointed out that a hard shot to one of Burkett’s legs early in the wild game kept the clever young prospect from displaying his running skills. He was thrown for losses six times.

“We couldn’t do everything we wanted to with him,” Ames said of Burkett.

It was no surprise to see seniors Marcus McGuinn and Nick Dritsas combine for 11 catches for 165 yards, but junior Andrew Logan displayed genuine grit on all four of his catches for 47 yards. Logan also blocked a punt.

In all, Meridian ran 80 offensive plays, surely one of the highest totals in school history. In the second half, improved senior Koby Smith cracked the line three times for 17 yards and showed he may provide valuable relief for Dritsas, who had 97 yards rushing and 80 receiving in a remarkable opener against a very tough state tournament caliber opponent.

Michelle Nolan

Blaine’s offense shows well in opener

Blaine came into the game with New Westminster having to replace four starting offensive lineman from last year. The new starters answered the call as quarterback Jalen Kortlever was kept clean and Riley Fritsch was able to slash the Hyacks’ defense.

Fritsch finished with 221 yards on 22 carries, and Kortlever completed 8 of 15 passes for 234 yards and three TDs.

Evan Elliott

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