Squalicum not only proved it should be considered one of the favorites to win the Northwest Conference this year with its dominating 27-0 win over Lynden Friday night, the Storm showed it has one of the best defenses, too.
But what set the stage for the Storm's shutout was a game-changing play junior safety Ben Peterson made late in the first quarter.
Lynden drew up a beautiful play where QB Sterling Somers faked a quarterback sweep. As soon as he got the Squalicum defenders to commit, Somers lofted a pass to a wide open Noah King, who had a clear path to the endzone.
But Peterson chased him down and, combined with a King bobble, helped knock the ball out of the endzone for a touchback.
"That is your play of the game," Storm coach Nick Lucey said. "We talked adversity, 'What are you going to do?' They beat us, and sure enough Ben goes down there and knocks the ball out."
From there out, Squalicum didn't let Lynden sniff the endzone. Too many Storm defenders made plays to mention, but Lucey did highlight the strong play of his first-year starting cornerbacks. Darious Powell and Noah Westerhoff manned those spots most of the night.
Penalties abound during Ferndale-Blaine game
One-hundred and thirty-five yards of penalties between both teams won’t make any coach happy. Blaine and Ferndale combined for the total Friday on 13 flags, not including the few that were declined.
What is most troublesome for both Golden Eagles coach Jamie Plenkovich and Borderites coach Jay Dodd, however, was when the penalties came.
One of the biggest was on Ferndale’s game-tying touchdown. The initial point after attempt was made by Sam Boulos, only to have it called back for a false start.
The second try from further out hit the upright and bounced out, keeping it at 20-20 instead of putting the Golden Eagles in the lead, a potentially costly penalty had Ferndale not taken control the rest of the way.
Ferndale also had three pass interference penalties on deep throws by Jalen Kortlever that allowed Blaine to move the sticks. While the calls were controversial, the Golden Eagles ended up taking nine penalties for 95 yards.
For two teams trying to make deep playoff runs, keeping the laundry off the field is certainly an area where there’s room for improvement if Friday night’s contest was any indication.
Poag, Tiemersma enjoy new duties
Multiple-sport standout Jake Poag is thrilled he became a rookie football kicker and fellow Lynden Christian senior Kyle Tiemersma is getting a kick out of catching the ball, not just quarterbacks.
Tiemersma, a three-year standout at defensive end, caught passes of 16 and 23 yards in LC’s 35-7 non-league win over Bellingham, giving the rugged defender the first five catches of his career during the Lyncs’ 3-0 start heading into Class 1A Northwest Conference play.
“It’s exciting to be able to contribute on both sides of the ball,” said Tiemersma. “I think our team has improved. We’re better on both sides.”
Third-year LC quarterback Lucas Roetcisoender agrees that the Lyncs have become more potent. “But this will be the toughest 1A conference in my three years,” he said of twice facing Mount Baker, Meridian and Nooksack, all huge rivals as well as league opponents. Friday Harbor is no longer part of the 1A league.
Poag, meanwhile, hasn’t played football since he was a freshman, but he wanted to make his senior year more than 3-point shots in basketball and goalkeeper saves in soccer.
Poag, who was 5-for-5 on conversions against Bellingham, is off to a 13-for-15 start, thanks in large part to the skills and work ethic of long snapper Nathan Wynstra (otherwise a two-way backfielder) and holder Colby Flint. Poag also has a 28-yard field goal.
(With his snapper and holder), “I guess I’d say that’s about what I would have expected,” said Poag, who has always had high standards as one of the school’s best athletes.
Poag also displayed his grit when he didn’t back off from making a hard tackle on the kickoff team. He also punts for the Lyncs, and he’s willing to make tackles when called on there, too.
Pioneers working on getting tougher
Even though the Nooksack Valley Pioneers have started the season 0-3 and just lost 42-8 to Cascade Christian on Friday night, head coach Robby Myhre is expecting his team to get tougher as the season goes on.
And not only will his team get tougher, his team’s schedule will become a lot tougher next week when they start league play against Mount Baker.
“That’s an outstanding team,” Myhre said. “But it just gets tougher after that. The league is just tough.”
Two players that could help the Pioneers become tougher are quarterback Casey Bauman and running back Joe McNeely.
“(Bauman) is just a sophomore but he’s growing quickly,” Myhre said. “He has a bright future.”
As for McNeely, a senior, Myhre says that he is filling in really nicely at running back after playing quarterback last year.
“As the season goes on we’re going to get better,” Myhre said. “And tougher.”
Engholm, Schleimer offering Mounties plenty
A few Mountaineers are making sure they’ve comeback strong from their Week 1 loss, showing an ability to dominate with homefield advantage the past two weeks.
The Mountaineers’ highly proficient offensive line allowed the team to capitalize on their opportunities whenever they controlled the ball.
In two games, junior running back Jed Schleimer has scored six touchdowns, rushing more than 200 yards each game.
Sophomore running back Carson Engholm stepped up both games. He scored two TDs for Mount Baker on Friday night during a 52-0 win over Cascade.
Engholm opened in the second quarter with a 1-yard push through the line. Minutes later he made a 17-yard rushing TD.
With seven carries, he ran a total of 71 yards. The week before, he also scored two TDs and ran 68 yards on just four carries.