It wasn’t the start that either team may have expected, but the results of the game were certainly surprising as Mount Baker rolled into Blaine and hammered the heavily-favored Borderites 41-15 Friday, October 1. The grizzly loss was accentuated by what could have been a grim, potentially serious injury to backup fullback Caleb Johnson.
Johnson was transported to St. Joseph hospital after a 35-minute game delay as paramedics attended to him. Johnson was hit awkwardly while playing special teams and blacked out briefly with tingling in his extremities according to his mother, Trisha Johnson. A CAT scan showed no neck injury, though he has a serious bruise on his scalp and may have a concussion.
The larger injury however, may have been to the Borderites’ defense. The injury delay occurred after Mount Baker had already taken a 7-0 lead on A. J. Howard’s 50-yard end around with 8:37 left in the opening quarter. The Borderites seemed listless on offense early on.
Two dropped passes during Blaine’s second offensive possession sabotaged that drive. A penalty on the Mario Gobboto’s 28-yard kickoff return, along with a fumbled snap and a tackle for loss killed their next possession. Then, three consecutive incompletions doomed the first drive of the second quarter. Mount Baker didn’t waste their opportunity while the Borderites were trying to find their offensive groove, scoring on their first three offensive series and posting a 20-0 halftime lead. Blaine did force the Mounties to punt and was doing a better job in the second quarter.
Mount Baker squashed any hopes of a rally with a brutal 88-yard death march through the Blaine defense, entirely on the ground, capped by Levi Wigg’s 6-yard touchdown. Wigg dominated the drive carrying five times for 65 yards. After a three and out by the Blaine offense, Wigg hammered the coffin closed with an electrifying 50 yard run to make it 34-0.
Levi Wigg enjoyed a stellar evening picking up 183 yards and five touchdowns on 24 carries. The Blaine defense was violated to the tune of 390 yards rushing. As if to add insult to injury, infrequent passing quarterback Zak Lepper was an efficient two of three passing but made them count for 43 yards and two first downs.
When the statistics are studied, they will show that Blaine quarterback Sean Allen had his most productive game so far. The senior quarterback was 24 of 37 passing for 275 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. However, incompletions in the first half and dropped passes kept the vaunted Borderite passing game grounded with only 119 yards passing in the first half. Until late in the game, Blaine’s rushing attack was non-existent.
Down 34-0, Allen managed to forge two scoring drives. The first, a 78-yard drive which culminated in Bird’s seven yard touchdown catch was muddied by the personal foul he received for spiking the football. The Mountaineers used the good field position to launch Wigg’s final touchdown.
Allen then connected on a 55-yard bomb to Andrew Miller with 7:12 left in the game. A two point conversion on a Tyler Chau run made it 41-15, before two uneventful drives ended the game.
“We just didn’t tackle well tonight,” Blaine head coach Jay Dodd said plainly, “I’m not going to call any particular player out but there was a couple of guys who just didn’t tackle.”
For Mount Baker’s junior tailback Wigg, the Mountaineer’s first win of the season was not as unexpected as the prognostications said it was. “We always think we can win,” said Wigg, after the game, “it’s amazing to get our first win here. The linemen worked real hard tonight.”
Hard work will be front and center on the Borderites agenda as they prepare to travel south and face undefeated and ranked Burlington-Edison, who is coming off a 20-7 win over 3A archrival Mount Vernon Friday at 7 p. m.
Photo by Shawn Robbins