High School Football

Lynden’s run game improving

Lynden running back Ben Colwell (18) runs the ball during the second quarter of a football game against Burlington-Edison on Friday, Oct. 9, at Lynden High School. The Lions racked up a season-best 227 yards on the ground.
Lynden running back Ben Colwell (18) runs the ball during the second quarter of a football game against Burlington-Edison on Friday, Oct. 9, at Lynden High School. The Lions racked up a season-best 227 yards on the ground. For The Bellingham Herald

The Lynden Lions proved against Burlington-Edison their run game has come a long way since putting up 34 yards on the ground Week 1 against King's.

When Lynden dropped two out of its first three games, a common theme was a lack of a rushing attack, but the line group, combined with added carries to additional playmakers has helped the Lions become more effective running the ball.

During the Lions' 34-16 win over the Tigers, Lynden ran for a season-best 227 yards. The Lions' previous best was a 168-yard effort against Anacortes.

Sterling Somers ran for a season-best 108 yards, including a 54-yard late touchdown, on 11 carries, and Ben Colwell gave Lynden a big boost with a 51-yard, second-quarter touchdown run. Dalton Ohlischlager got the most work, running for 41 yards on 12 rushes.

And around the goal line, Lynden coach Curt Kramme has introduced a Wildcat look with speedy receiver Jordan Wittenberg in the backfield.

The senior dashed toward corner pylons on both his attempts and finished with two carries for nine yards and two touchdowns.

"We are just getting better," Kramme said. "That's what we've talked about to our kids. A loss can be a good thing if we use it to our advantage."

Andrew Lang

Blaine gives honorary captain to freshman with spine condition

Blaine freshman Ben Caro is having a surgery Monday, Oct. 12, to treat his spine condition known as Scheurmann’s, which causes a curvature in the spine.

But in the Borderites’ Friday night victory over Anacortes, Caro didn’t have to worry about the upcoming appointment. He was too busy enjoying helping Blaine to a win.

The freshman was ran out in his wheelchair to midfield by his teammates for the coin toss as an honorary captain, gave a halftime speech to the squad and was the centerpiece of the victory celebration, where he was all smiles.

“Ben is one of our student athletic trainers,” Blaine coach Jay Dodd said after the game. “Our players thought it’d be a good idea for Ben to be a big part of the game.”

Joshua Hart

Rinker looking strong as Mariners’ new QB

Sehome coach Bob Norvell was caught in a quandary: Should he add a quarterback with a potentially good arm while subtracting a strong senior linebacker?

“I had to take him (Jace Rinker) off the defense so he could concentrate on learning quarterback,” Norvell said of the fifth signal-caller he has tried this injury-plagued season.

While losing to 2013 Class 2A state champion Lynden and then to 2014 state titlist Sedro-Woolley in his first two varsity games at quarterback, Rinker justified Norvell’s faith in him by completing 28 of his first 47 passes, though he did suffer two interceptions against each of those 2015 state contenders.

Rinker got highly athletic first-half help from fellow seniors in Sehome’s 34-6 loss to Sedro, which led only 7-6 at halftime thanks to a 45-yard interception return by Bryce Hornbeck for a touchdown and a conversion by star kicker Adrian Vasquez. Sehome’s Michael Evans made a leaping catch for an 18-yard touchdown and Warren Zinns out jumped a defender for a 36-yard grab late in the first quarter.

Rinker can hope that speedy Taylor Rapp recovers from several bothersome injuries, which had him in and out against the Cubs. When Rapp was in, he had a 57-yard interception return and prevented a touchdown when he suffered a leg problem while catching up to Hornbeck at the 4-yard line after Hornbeck’s 73-yard scamper on a reverse.

Michelle Nolan

Win streak shows Bellingham’s program growth

Three wins in as many games is no small feat for a Bellingham team that just two seasons ago went winless.

Bellingham improved its record to 3-3 when they pulled out a 34-33 overtime win over Bellevue Christian Friday, Oct. 9 at Civic Stadium. The Red Raiders’ improved play can be attributed to a new coaching staff led by Ted Flint.

Flint, in his second year as coach, has led Bellingham to an 8-8 record after taking over for a team that was 1-19 in the two seasons before he was hired.

Flint has seen his football team grow from 20 players to the 37 that suited up Friday. Of the 37, only seven are seniors and Flint said that players such as sophomore Ethan Fields will be important in the coming seasons.

“Obviously it’s huge to get varsity experience as a sophomore for us going forward,” Flint said.

Fields had a fumble return for a touchdown, a rushing touchdown and an interception near the goal line to shut down a Bellevue drive. Yet even after one of the biggest wins the school has seen in years, he was quick to credit his coach.

“I knew with the new coach that he would get all the kids working together,” Fields said. “He’s a big reason for our success.”

Tyler Urke

Jed Schleimer can throw, too

Two weeks ago on Sep. 25, Mount Baker junior running back Jed Schleimer shattered the state rushing record with 521 rushing yards against Nooksack Valley.

Two weeks later, Schleimer accomplished something else he had never done before in a game.

Throw a pass.

And not only did he throw it, he completed it for a touchdown.

Late in the first quarter Schleimer looked as though he was running a halfback toss play, but instead of turning the corner to run the ball he instead cocked his arm back and threw a 30-yard touchdown to Vadim Kotsyuba to give Mount Baker a 14-0 lead.

“We finally decided to run that after practicing it often,” Baker coach Ron Lepper said. “We thought it would be a good time.”

And it was a good time as it worked to perfection, which surprised Schleimer.

“I didn’t expect the play to be called,” Schleimer said after the game. “We’ve been practicing it all the time, but I was still surprised. I told Vadim in the huddle that if he was open I was going to just throw it up and it worked.”

Ben Goldstein

Lummi’s rush defense comes up big against Crescent

They’re big, strong, fast and apparently fearless. The Blackhawks held Crescent scoreless through the first three quarters of their game Friday night, Oct. 9. The only score they let through was in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter – after many starters had left the field.

Blackhawks coach Jim Sandusky said his team had a very specific defensive plan.

“We wanted to stop the run,” he said. “Crescent has a big offensive line, and we needed to stop them early.”

Lummi certainly succeeded on that. Crescent ran for a measly 159 yards on 38 attempts or just over four yards a carry. And these numbers somewhat exaggerate the Loggers success running, since 60 of those 159 yards came off a big run late in the fourth quarter to set up Crescent’s only score.

Ignore that run and Lummi limited their opponent to something like 2.7 yards per carry.

Their inability to run forced the Loggers to drop back and throw – right into the teeth of Lummi’s excellent secondary.

John Boone

Meridian’s defense shines against Nooksack Valley

When Meridian came to Nooksack Valley on Friday night they made sure to bring their defense. From the start they had Nooksack’s Casey Bauman feeling the pressure in the pocket. Bauman was forced to throw on the run for most of night. Bauman appeared rattled early on, throwing two interceptions in his fist six throws before rebounding to end the night 18 for 26 passing. Bauman was also sacked three times.

Meridian was equally stout on run defense holding the Pioneers to 80 yards on 24 tries for an average of 3.3 yards per carry. The Trojans were able to force three fumbles as well. However, they were unable to recover any of them.

Ryan Parrish