Two memorable third-quarter runs is what Lynden Christian’s David Bladies needed last week against Sultan to convince himself he was back.
“The other night he had a really good run,” Lyncs coach Galen Kaemingk explained. “The second play of the second half he broke two-to-three tackles and everybody kind of went, ‘Whoa,’ because it looked like it was going to be a 5 or 6 yard gain, and then it went to 8 or 10 and then, ‘Boom,” he went the distance.”
Bladies ended his Week 2 performance with 139 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries. He scored from 69 and 16 yards out during the third quarter in what was a major welcome-back moment for the junior.
Bladies helped Lynden Christian capture its second consecutive win, and the Lyncs find themselves in a similar position as last year when they started the year 3-0.
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But Bladies wasn’t around for that.
The running back missed all of last season after sustaining a concussion the first week of football practice. Oddly enough, his concussion wasn’t football induced.
“I got it tubing behind the boat during summer,” Bladies explained. “It was the week football started, so it was a bummer.”
Bladies didn’t tube once this summer, he said, and surely the Lyncs are happy with his decision.
Bladies has offered a major boost to the Lyncs’ running game. Through two weeks his 221 rushing yards ranks fifth in the Northwest Conference.
LC has welcomed the production. For Bladies, the early success has answered his question of how he would come back following nearly a two-year football hiatus.
“I’m just glad to be back in it, and the last game, I felt really good,” Bladies said. “Third quarter against Sultan, before then I was still kind of rusty, but I feel like I got it all off after halftime, and I felt like my old self again. It was pretty sweet.”
Bladies runs a little upright, has some wiggle and brings a nice mix or power and speed, Kaemingk said.
Bladies had a less elegant description for his running style.
“I just kind of get the ball and run as fast as I can,” he said. “Try not to get tackled.”
Kaemingk had high hopes for Bladies when he was a sophomore, but because of the injury, the LC coach still didn’t know exactly what to expect this fall. But Kaemingk turned to last spring’s track and field season for a glimpse of what Bladies could offer.
Few track and field athletes mesh throwing and sprinting events, but Bladies is one of those rare breeds, running the 100 meters and throwing the discus. That in itself shows Bladies’ blend of power and speed.
The running back spot was one of LC’s biggest question marks coming into the season. The Lyncs graduated players who accounted for 1,444 of the team’s 1,549 rushing yards last year.
Bladies has both helped fill the void of those graduated and also given a boost to the pass game.
The threat of Bladies running the ball in Lynden Christian’s I-formation has allowed quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender to deliver passes to standout wide receivers Zach Roetcisoender and Nate Hielkema.
“I think we really weren’t sure, and he has showed himself really well,” Kaemingk said. “He is getting more carries in the interest of being more fresh, but he is making the most of his carries, so he has taken the bull by the horns and run with it.”