by Jack Kintner
Blaine mowed down Cedarcrest last week 40-33, moving into the 16-team state football tournament for the first time since 1998, with all the subtlety of a bulldozer in a flower garden.
Senior Casey McCabe returned to the line-up to combine with classmates Ben Bohnson and Sean Hicks for 428 rushing yards and sophomores Caleb Statum and David Craig added a dozen more. Hicks and Bohnson each scored twice and McCabe once.
Blaine got 324 of its rushing yards before halftime, the eighth-ranked Red Wolves when all was said and done providing little more than an hors d’oeuvre for the lean and hungry Borderites.
The game was not as close as the score indicates, as Cedarcrest’s first string managed two touchdowns in the closing minute against Blaine’s reserves after the game was well in hand.
Quarterback Daniel Gorze threw an economical six times completing a touchdown pass each to Freddy Johncox and Trevor Chau, plus another two to last week’s star Alex Bresnan for a total of 89 yards.
Patrick Mulholland was a little off his game, connecting on three of five PATs for three points, but he’ll get it back quickly. Blaine also had a 2-point attempt fail.
Blaine started strong by getting two touchdowns from Bohnson, one on a five-yard run to cap their first possession and a second on a 34-yard scamper three plays later, and a third on an 18-yard pass to Chau.
Cedarcrest got on the boards twice in the second quarter but Blaine stayed ahead with two more touchdowns, one on a 29-yard pass play to Johncox and a second on a one-yard run by Hicks. McCabe and Hicks both scored in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
“These guys have been wanting to do this for years,” said Blaine head coach Jay Dodd, who played on one of Blaine’s earlier state tournament teams as a lineman in 1996. Last year Dodd took the Borderites to a strange post-season loss when opponent Murphy High School of Everett made a last-minute switch in fields and Blaine found itself without the right kind of shoes.
Coaches and parents pitched in on the way down to the game as the team stopped at a few sporting goods stores in a couple of malls, but it was a huge distraction.
This year problems are a thing of the past. Many of the seniors are veterans of games and leagues that began in the Boys and Girls Clubs and continued up through middle school an JV ball to the varsity. This is their time, and they will not leave this season undone, playing with a focus and a team ethic not seen locally since Luke Ridnour led Blaine’s hardcourt squad to three straight state championship games, winning two.
Blaine (7-3) plays its first-round state tournament game on the road against host Fife, this year’s Nisqually League champs at 5-0 (7-2). It will be played at Sumner, the closest field with artificial turf field, a requirement for all state tournament games.
It was not in effect for
Blaine’s game last year
with Murphy high school because that was a qualifying game
to get into the state tournament.
Fife’s biggest weapon is a small, shifty and very quick Reggie Bush-style runner, 5’9” 160 lb.
Tyler Cardin, current 2A state leader in rushing yardage (1,767) and touchdowns (39). He runs out of a wingback position in a ground-oriented wing-T offense much like Blaine faced last week against Cedarcrest.
Cardin got more than 300 yards and scored five touchdowns last week in Fife’s play-in game against Klahoya, and yet only carried the ball 10 times.
Blaine’s best bet is to contain the kid, much like you sweep a bee out of your car, when they’re not keeping the ball away from Fife’s offense.
Fife AD and former Castle Rock head coach Howard Hosley said that Cardin’s quickness surprises people because “he’s not a 100- meter guy, not all that fast out in the open, but he’s very quick whether he’s running left, right or straight ahead.”
Cardin, according to scouting reports, is not a pile driver, certainly not at that diminutive size. He has the patience to wait for holes to open up, and when they do he’s through them like a bullet through leaves.
Although you never know, Blaine should win this game, all things considered, because our run defense has matured and grown as solid as a conga line of mastodons, big kids that with a couple of exceptions outweigh their opponents by a comfortable margin and delight in hammering them into the ground like tent stakes.
Additional incentive is provided by who their next tournament game on November 16 will be with and where: it’s scheduled for Civic Field in Bellingham where they’ll probably get another crack at Lynden.
It’s a measure of this team’s focus and maturity that such positive comments before the fact have absolutely no effect on their performance any more, because these veterans are way beyond letting things like this mean anything. They just want to win, and they will.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. at Sumner high school’s stadium, 1707 Main Street, in Sumner.
Blaine runs strong at state tourney
Blaine senior Doug Ramirez and sophomore Tim Bradley both went to the state cross-country tournament last weekend on the strength of strong performances at the district meet the weekend before.
At the district meet, held on a repetitive circular course at South Whidbey high school, teams that qualify may take all seven members regardless of their times.
With just 20 places that get to advance out of the 98 runners at the district race, boys running as individuals from teams that did not qualify to go as a unit to the state contest in Pasco have just a few chances. Ramirez placed 11th and Bradley placed 15th, though, to get two of the four slots remaining.
In Pasco, Ramirez managed a 46th place and Tim Bradley got a 74th, both very good finishes for this young program.
For the week of November 8