SPORTS by Jack Kintner
Borderites sack Falcons to make state
With a convincing 33-2 drubbing of the South Whidbey Falcons last Friday night, Blaine salvaged a disappointing season and joined the elite ranks of the sweet 16, teams that have made it into the 2008 state football tournament.
They’ll face Mark Morris high school in Longview on Saturday, November 16.
But despite the score, it took Blaine awhile to get things going. Some traditions die hard, and the Borderites are apparently not yet ready to give up theirs of serving up a score for the opposing team to start things off.
It’s as if they enjoy climbing out of holes they create for themselves, and although it is a polite thing to do, this is football, not high tea. Fortunately, what followed was an embarrassing evisceration of an over-confident Falcon team that once rightly thought of itself as state finalist material. Not any more.
With a 7-2 record, South Whidbey finished second in the Cascade Conference to Archbishop Murphy high school of Everett, a parochial school presently ranked second in the state whose determined recruiting efforts are evident in their consistent success. While Blaine was having South Whidbey Falcon under glass, Archbishop Murphy was dismantling the same Bellingham team Blaine beat last week 44-0.
“Once we got the jitters out we were just fine,” a happy Casey McCabe smiled through a mud-caked face, his 198 yards rushing on the evening putting him just over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, a stat that is often cited to separate the merely good from the truly great.
The field was wet from several days of rain, but none fell during the game and temperatures in the high 50s made it quite comfortable for the full rooter bus and other fans who drove themselves to the Falcon’s field at the south end of Whidbey Island.
The game opened with Blaine receiving but in a flurry of procedure penalties and other miscues they were unable to move out of their own end of the field and gave up the ball.
After trading possessions, Blaine’s D.J. Duncan recovered a Falcon fumble giving Blaine good field possession.
A sure Jacob Rogers touchdown reception was foiled when he tangled with a Falcon defender’s legs, a play some Blaine fans though merited an interference call, but the veteran officiating crew visiting from Snohomish County preferred to let the boys play the game.
Blaine’s low point came soon after that as the teams traded fumbles early in the second quarter. A holding penalty put Blaine back on their own 10-yard line which led to Daniel Gorze getting sacked in the end zone for a two-point safety. To add insult to that injury, Blaine had to kick the ball back to the Falcons.
Then, like Tex Ritter, they woke up.
With four minutes left in the first half they went to work like angry grave diggers, greatly aided by things like Josh Jones’s float like a butterfly, sting like a bee pass defense, a talent they’ve needed before and will really need in the games yet to come.
Blaine held Whidbey in three downs and got the ball back in good field position on a shanked Falcon punt that went only ten yards.
Completed passes to Trevor Chau and Shaffer Hicks put Blaine on the Falcon 6, and a perfect Gorze to Al Bohnson 8-yard pass sent Blaine up 7-2.
Then Joel Garza intercepted a Falcon pass two plays later and on the next play Casey McCabe went 31 yards for the score, putting Blaine up 13-2.
After Blaine’s kick the Falcons gave the ball up on downs and in a classic “want to see me to do it again” moment McCabe again got loose, this time for a 52-yard touchdown to put Blaine up 19-2. Blaine fans stopped complaining about the officiating.
Blaine continued playing the kind of football they can – and should – in the third quarter, keeping possession for a long drive that broke the Falcons’ backs.
McCabe scored his third touchdown at the end of it and, after Whidbey once again gave the ball up to Blaine’s defense, Jacob Rogers added another right at the end of the quarter with an 8-yard reception from Jordan McCarty.
Gorze and McCarty each threw 12 times, completing four for 54 yards and seven for 64 yards respectively. Caleb Statham added almost 100 yards rushing for an impressive 411-yard Blaine offensive performance.
The defense was a moving wall of mayhem, as impenetrable as if the Borderites brought the Peace Arch with them and laid it sideways on the field.
“Hats off to South Whidbey. We were caught off guard a little by their defense since they showed us a look we hadn’t seen before,” said Blaine head coach Jay Dodd after the game, who was also not happy with Blaine’s penchant for first-quarter penalties.
But the win sends his team higher into the post season than they’ve been in many years, a radiant glee showing on the faces of his assistant coaches and players.
This team is competitive and can play with anyone. From here on out they should play the first quarter as if it’s the third, show no mercy and stop being so darn polite to the other guys.
Borderites place well at state
It’s not just the football team that’s going to the state tournament thus far in the 08-09 season. Senior Tim Bradley and Freshman Kiersten Sigfusson both placed 24th at the state cross country meet last weekend in Pasco. Look for a full report next week.
Lady B’s can’t spoil Baker’s trip to state
Blaine’s volleyball team, missing the smashing kills and one-handed serve of their ace Veronica Rooney, lost their final game of the season 3-1 to a determined Mt. Baker squad that in winning captured the fifth and final berth for post-season conference play.
The match was closer than the score might indicate, with games of 25-7, 21-25, 25-13 and 25-19.
The squad looks good for next year with junior Taylor Trueblood getting 21 digs and sophomores Libby Moore and Hunter Ives getting 13 and five kills respectively.
For the week of Nov. 7
11-7 Blaine 33, South Whidbey 2
11-5 Mount Baker 3, Blaine 1
X-COUNTRY STATE FINALS
Boys: Tim Bradley, 24th in 16:33
Girls: Kiersten Sigfusson, 24th in 19:45