The season opener for Nooksack Valley and Blaine did not disappoint as both teams battled back and forth. Host Blaine prevailed 35-21 after two mistakes caught up to the Pioneers on Friday.
The Pioneers took a 21-7 lead late in the second quarter and looked to be headed to halftime with a 14-point lead. Instead, Blaine completed a 67-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Ball to narrow the gap to seven before halftime.
Ball caught two more touchdown passes in the second half to give the Borderites a 28-21 lead. Running back Riley Fritsch then scampered for a 52-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to clinch the win.
“It was a good win for us,” Blaine coach Jay Dodd said. “But we still have a lot of work to do to improve this season.”
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Star of the game
Ball caught 11 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his touchdowns came on extremely impressive jump-ball receptions. He was easily Blaine’s favorite target. He also had a key interception in the third quarter in the Pioneers’ end zone.
Up 28-21 late in the fourth quarter, the Borderites had possession. Nooksack Valley had to get a stop to get the ball back and try to tie the score, but Fritsch ran for a 52-yard touchdown to ice the game for Blaine.
Play of the Night
With Nooksack Valley on the Blaine 1 in the third quarter , the Borderites stopped the Pioneers and stripped quarterback Casey Bauman. Blaine recovered the ball in a pile of bodies to preserve its 28-21 lead.
What it means
The Pioneers kept up with the Borderites for most of the game, even leading 14-0 after the first quarter. Despite losing, Nooksack Valley looks to be headed in the right direction.
NV— Tre Silva 7 run (Colton Kautz kick)
NV— Colton Kautz 10 run (Colton Kautz kick)
BL- Colby Knutzen 12 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
NV- Colton Kautz 9 run from Casey Bauman (Colton Kautz kick)
BL- Anthony Ball 67 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL — Anthony Ball 15 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL — Anthony Ball 22 pass from Jalen Kortlever (Kyle Sentowski kick)
BL- Riley Fritsch 52 run (Kyle Sentowski kick)
RUSHING – Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 20-69, Tre Silva 6-38, Colton Kautz 10-36, Evan Neitling 1-0 . Blaine: Riley Fritsch 17-151, Jalen Kortlever 6-14, Garrett Adams 1-1
PASSING – Nooksack Valley: Casey Bauman 23-39-1-255 Blaine: Jalen Kortlever 20-29-0-287
RECEIVING – Nooksack Valley: Kyle Veldman 8-75, Michael O’Bryan 7-72, Colton Kautz 2-65, Tre Silva 5-38, Austin O’Bryan 1-5 Blaine: Austin Ball 11-222, Chase Abshere 2-22, Colby Knutzen 3-17, Gunnar Arnason 2-17, Haden Anthony 1-8, Riley Fritsch 1-1