Playing a complete and balanced game on both offense and defense, Blaine blew away the Squalicum Storm 24-0 in their annual homecoming game last Friday in front of a stadium full of enthusiastic fans. Of all the stats, holding the once highly touted Storm to just a single yard in rushing offense was the best. Two of their running backs actually ended with enough minus yardage to nearly cancel the efforts of the other three.
It wasn’t that many years ago that a homecoming victory at Blaine was an uncommon occurrence. Recent years the tide has turned, but no more convincingly than it did last Friday. The Borderites were decked out in their brand new orange jerseys that weren’t expected to arrive in time for the game.
They made it, thanks to some above-and-beyond by a few key folks, and were waiting in the locker room after the team finished its warm-up drill. An inspired gang of Borderites responded with a game that was as flawless as it was aggressive and dominating from start to finish.
It was a dramatic change from the week before when Blaine’s bid to upset Lynden was stopped by an embarrassing three minute lapse in the fourth quarter that the team won’t soon forget, their chance for the big one lost. Caleb Statham left that game at halftime due to a concussion after being tackled so hard by Lynden’s middle linebacker that his helmet was destroyed, leaving Blaine without its most potent offensive ground weapon.
This week, although held below 100 yards rushing for the first time in many games, Statham was back healthy as ever, battering the line 24 times for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Blaine quarterback Jordan McCarty, playing with a brainy kind of awareness like a younger, lighter Donovan McNabb, kept the Storm off balance all night with another sterling performance, producing almost 400 yards of offense to the Storm’s meager 121. He gained 230 yards of that passing to six receivers: Trevor Chau caught five for 95 yards, Todd Bird six for 63, David Craig two for 13, Al Bohnson five for 58 and Marcus Yu got one good for seven yards.
In addition to Statham, the compact but effective David Craig contributed another 35 yards rushing. Blaine dominated in possessions, running 58 plays to the Storm’s meager 27, getting 18 first downs to Squalicum’s eight. This textbook performance came against a team that’s pretty good, and was picked by some to finish right behind Lynden in the pre-season.
The defense played like a brick wall all night, causing four fumblers and recovering three, stifling the Storm on play after play.
The one that did get away, a long pass and run play, was called back in the second quarter by a holding penalty. It was the defense that set up the first score, a vicious hit off a sack by homecoming King Tusapa Laolagi popping the ball loose followed by a nifty Blaine offensive series that ended with Al Bohnson’s six yard reception for the first score.
A thirty-yard pass to Chau set up the next score, a picture-perfect pass to a leaping Todd Bird in the right hand corner of the west end zone in front of an appreciative crowd of overflow standees hanging out on the track. The improving Keith Sentkowski added a longish 26 yard field goal in the third and Statham nailed the lid on the coffin with a 16-yard TD in the fourth.
Next week’s game is the third “big” game in a row, this time against 5-1 Burlington-Edison, who last week handed 3-A Mount Vernon their first loss of the season 30-0.
Their loss, interestingly, came against Squalicum early in the season.
The Tigers have two big weapons, running back Mikey Sanchez and kicker Andrew Furney, who had field goals of 40, 44 and 40 yards. The game is at Burlington at 7 p.m.