Blaine’s football season came to an end last Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the state high school football tournament with a 38-20 loss to a very good WF West high school team.
The game began with West scoring on their first two possessions, one due to a missed off-side call that led to a 12-yard sack of Blaine quarterback Jordan McCarty inside the Blaine red zone and a subsequent sideline warning to the Blaine coaching staff when they politely but firmly pointed out the linesman’s mistake.
Blaine’s spirit never broke, even though this team that normally plays as clean as a Sunday school picnic somehow amassed a season-high 10 penalties for 70 yards. In the second quarter, after more flags than a Georgia amusement park put them deep in their own territory with a first and 39, they made the first down on a couple of nifty long gainers including a clutch catch by Trevor Chau who got the first down on a second and 19 on determination and effort.
Caleb Statham had yet another big game, scoring twice in gaining 143 yards, 60 of it in one play off right tackle in the first period to put Blaine on the board. The unheralded but productive and savvy Al Bohnson made a highlight reel catch in the second quarter to pull Blaine to within one touchdown at the half, 21-14.
But the second half went mostly West’s way as they again scored on their first possession and followed that with a long breakaway by their all-star quarterback Al Ternan to ice the contest. Still, Blaine soldiered on as they have all year, scoring late in the game on a short burst from Statham, his last touchdown of a year in which he averaged more that 130 yards gained per game.
Statistically, Blaine matched West in first downs and gained 178 yards through the air to West’s 138. It was the West running game, in fact, that did the trick for them as Blaine was spread out defensively to defend against their impressively productive aerial game.
Besides Statham, Blaine’s ground game got four yards from the compact but tough David Craig, who is also the team leader in tackles, and 25 on three carries from Tusapa Laolagi.
Trevor Chau netted seven passes for 78 yards, Todd Bird four for 30 yards, Craig two for 12, Laolagi one reception for 26 yards, Andrew Miller one for 20 yards and Bohnson one for 12 yards and a touchdown.
The Borderites finish this banner season with a record of seven and four and some remarkable achievements. Beating Ferndale in the third game of the season after a tough opening loss to the top-ranked team in B.C. was one, and ripping off three straight shut-outs (outscoring opponents 114 to zero) after a tough road loss to Burlington was another.
It was also the final show for a bunch of seniors, many of whom have played together for a decade or more. The names have all become familiar over the season, and some of them will be heard from again, whether in collegiate or semi-pro ranks – besides Statham, Chau and Bohnson, the list includes quarterback Jordan McCarty, kicker Keith Sentkowski, wide receiver/ defensive backs Josh Jones, Tucker Morgan and Mike Dierks, running back/ defensive backs Shaffer Hicks, Cody Dampier, Sean Livermont and David Craig, tight end/linebacker Marcus Van Kirk, linebackers Tusapa Laolagi and Joel Garza, and linemen Chris Nunez, Brandon Heggem, Brad Johnson, Anthony Munden, Christian Wood and Travis Pederson.
Coach Jay Dodd’s fourth season ends 7-4 for an over-all record of 26 wins and 18 losses.
The program has improved thanks in no small part to the performance, leadership and accomplishments of the seniors, Dodd’s first group to go through all four years of varsity football.