High School Football

Bellingham has built toward this season for two years; now the real test begins

Bellingham’s Nich Smith, left, defends a pass in practice on Friday, Aug. 26, in Bellingham.
Bellingham’s Nich Smith, left, defends a pass in practice on Friday, Aug. 26, in Bellingham. eabell@bhamherald.com

For the past two years, the Bellingham football team has been building toward this fall.

Rather than continuing to take its lumps during a full Northwest Conference schedule in what many coaches consider the toughest Class 2A league in the state, the Red Raiders spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons playing unattached schedules in the hopes they could develop their younger players and help rebuild a program that was struggling.

In the three years before Bellingham made the move (2011-13), the Red Raiders went a combined 3-27.

The bold plan seemed to work, as Bellingham went 6-4 last season after going 5-5 in 2014, but now the real test begins. Bellingham returns as a full member of the 2A NWC, meaning it will once again face state powers such as Lynden, Sedro-Woolley and Burlington-Edison and NWC newcomer Lakewood.

Coach Ted Flint and his team are excited for the new challenge.

We were able to recover the program by playing a bunch of sophomores in a nonleague varsity schedule last season, and this will help us a lot.

Bellingham coach Ted Flint

“These last two years set us up for this season,” Flint said. “We played a varsity schedule with young guys, and those young guys learned quickly.”

Those same guys have continued their success this summer. Flint said this was the best summer the program has had since he took it over in 2014.

“We had lots of guys in the weight room,” Flint said, “which will help us a lot this season.”

Senior wide receiver/cornerback Nich Smith, who has been through the ups and downs of the past two years, said he feels playing an NWC schedule will push the Red Raiders to be better.

“This league schedule will be really great for us because we will play larger schools,” Smith said. “Facing those larger schools will force us to play better and get better every week.”

2 Years since the Red Raiders played a 2A Northwest Conference schedule.

Playing a league schedule also will give Bellingham a more realistic opportunity to advance to the postseason for the first time since 2010, if it can make a successful return.

“I think we’re going to do really well,” Smith said. “We have a large number of guys that turned out this season, and that will be a big help.”

The Red Raiders hope a number of those players will be key contributors.

On defense, junior Nick Oesterling will anchor the line, while juniors Ethan Fields and Connor Wallace will be vital pieces in the secondary. Senior middle linebacker Dakota Johanson also will be an important piece to the puzzle.

Offensively,Oesterling will again lead line, while Fields (22 receptions, 239 yards, four TDs in 2015) will play flanker. Junior quarterback Nick Knutson (1,138 yards, 12 touchdowns) will direct the attack.

We need to keep working, and that will help us improve immensely as the season goes along.

Bellingham coach Ted Flint

After two seasons of preparation, the main goal for Smith and the Red Raiders is to make the playoffs – a goal they now believe is achievable.

But before Bellingham gets that far into the season, there are a couple of steps Flint still wants to see his team take.

“We need to keep working hard,” Flint said. “By working hard, we will improve and hopefully accomplish what we want to.”

2016 schedule

Date

Opponent

Time

Sept. 2

Lynden Christian (at Civic Stadium)

7 p.m.

Sept. 9

at Shorewood (at Shoreline Stadium)

7 p.m.

Sept. 16

at Lynden*

7 p.m.

Sept. 23

at Blaine*

7 p.m.

Oct. 1

Burlington-Edison (at Civic Stadium)*

7 p.m.

Oct. 7

Sehome (at Civic Stadium)*

7 p.m.

Oct. 14

at Sedro-Woolley*

7 p.m.

Oct. 21

Anacortes (at Civic Stadium)*

7 p.m.

Oct. 28

at Lakewood*

7 p.m.

*2A Northwest Conference game

2016 roster

No.

Player

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

Pos.

2

Spencer Lee

5-10

150

So.

WR/DB

3

Cole Allain

6-0

150

Sr.

WR/DB

5

Jonny Henry

5-11

155

So.

QB/DB

6

Sebastian Serrano

5-4

120

So.

WR/DB

7

Morgan Cavalier

6-0

145

Fr.

QB/DB

8

Nick Knutson

6-2

180

Jr.

QB/DB

9

James Galaviz

5-7

120

Jr.

WR/DB

10

DJ DeYoung

5-10

210

Sr.

WR/DL

11

Oleg Odushkin

5-5

122

Fr.

WR/DB

12

Ethan Berschauer

6-2

180

Jr.

WR/DB

13

Rand Bentley

6-6

191

So.

QB/LB

14

Ethan Johnson

6-0

138

So.

WR/DB

15

Connor Wallace

5-8

160

Jr.

RB/DB

16

Hayden Woods

5-11

150

Jr.

WR/DB

17

Noah Johnson

5-8

130

Jr.

WR/DB

20

Levi DeYoung

5-11

155

Sr.

WR/DB

22

Ethan Fields

6-0

185

Jr.

WR/DB

23

Oberon Pacheco

5-10

130

So.

WR/DB

24

Jacob Hallock

6-1

170

So.

WR/DB

25

Gabe Sherman

5-7

140

Jr.

RB/LB

26

Kelton Connors

5-11

200

Sr.

WR/LB

27

Connor McKay

5-7

127

Fr.

WR/DB

28

Christian Coleman

6-0

165

Jr.

WR/LB

30

Nich Smith

6-1

180

Sr.

WR/DB

31

Cody Tolle

5-5

135

Fr.

WR/DB

32

Isaac Ninneman

5-11

155

Fr.

WR/LB

33

Trey Clayton

5-10

115

Fr.

WR/DB

34

Jack Fields

5-10

155

Fr.

RB/LB

35

Eric Collado

5-8

140

So.

RB/LB

40

Jackson Taylor

5-11

135

Fr.

RB/LB

41

Saunder vanWoerden

5-10

141

Fr.

WR/LB

42

Dakota Johanson

6-1

220

Sr.

RB/LB

44

Joseph Worley

6-4

250

Sr.

WR/LB

45

Eli Kongshaug

6-2

180

So.

RB/LB

50

Jade Dudoward

5-10

180

Jr.

OL/DL

51

Gideon Bachelder

5-9

150

Fr.

OL/LB

52/46

Nicholas Oesterling

6-3

200

Jr.

OL/TE/DL

53

Jonathan Alvarez

5-6

180

Fr.

OL/DL

54

Brahm vanWoerden

5-10

170

Jr.

OL/LB

55

Tevon Lautenbach

6-1

180

Jr.

OL/LB

57

Wake Kremer

5-10

220

So.

OL/DL

58

Aiden Helming

5-10

170

Jr.

OL/DL

59

Sam Isaacson

6-2

195

Sr.

OL/LB

60

Hunter Bills

5-11

230

Sr.

OL/DL

61

Nick Posey

5-7

190

So.

OL/DL

62

Koa Hanks

6-2

195

Sr.

OL/LB

63

Matthias Murphy

5-10

158

Fr.

OL/DL

64

Travis Middleton

5-10

158

Fr.

OL/LB

65

Jackson Lee

5-6

185

Jr.

OL/DL

66

Christian Butenschoen

5-11

225

So.

OL/DL

67

Chris Oesterling

6-0

175

Fr.

OL/DL

68

Matthew Sutherland

5-6

160

Fr.

OL/DL

71

Chase Johanson

6-1

210

So.

OL/DL

72

Butch Mullins

6-2

270

Fr.

OL/DL

74

Julian Donohue

5-11

259

Fr.

OL/DL

75

Alex Bonesteele

6-1

240

So.

OL/DL

79

Caleb McDonald

5-10

200

So.

OL/LB

80

Evan Hibbing

6-0

135

Fr.

WR/LB

82

Colton Jovag

5-4

107

So.

WR/DB

84

Andre Triplett

5-6

127

Fr.

WR/DB

86

Kyler Bogaards

5-8

145

Fr.

WR/LB

88

Cole Johanson

5-11

135

So.

WR/DB

2015 results

Date

Opponent

Score

Sept. 4

at Squalicum

L 41-14

Sept. Jr.

at Sehome

L 22-6

Sept. 18

Lynden Christian

L 35-7

Sept. 26

Charles Wright

W 42-27

Oct. 2

at Friday Harbor

W 54-8

Oct. 9

Bellevue Christian

W 34-33

Oct. 17

at Orcas Island

W 20-13

Oct. 23

at La Conner

L 24-7

Oct. 30

Highline

W 33-7

Nov. 5

Granite Falls

W 35-15

2015 statistical leaders

RUSHING

Player

Att.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Isiah Harrington

70

586

8.4

9

Dakota Johanson

50

213

4.3

4

Conner Wallace

24

108

4.5

0

Chris Thompson

28

92

3.3

2

PASSING

Player

Att.

Cmp.

Yards

TD

Int.

Nick Knutson

88

161

1,138

12

7

RECEIVING

Player

Rec.

Yards

Avg.

TD

Zach Lorenz

15

434

28.9

5

Ethan Fields

21

239

21.4

4

Joseph Worley

22

218

9.9

3

Isiah Harrington

14

63

4.5

0

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