Defense shines in shutout victory

Published on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 by Russell Paris

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(Photo by Janell Kortlever) Lineman Jon Fakkema, 53, prepares to snap the ball during an offensive play on Friday, September 28. Despite the rain, Blaine managed to secure a shutout victory over Lynden Christian.

What a night! What a victory! What a Homecoming win!

Not even the rain could dampen the spirit gained from demolishing the Lyncs. Friday, September 28 was a big-play night for the Borderites’ offense and a stingy defense that blanketed Lynden Christian, 30-0.

The overflowing crowd was vibrant with old friends visiting and talk of the upcoming Homecoming activities.

The crowd was abuzz about Mario Gobbato only needing 28 yards to break the Whatcom County rushing record.

“The record does not mean that much to me – it is about getting the win,” Gobbato said. “Homecoming is about me thinking of my grandfather, my father and my uncle who all played football for Blaine.”

Blaine elected to kick off to start the game, only adding to the suspense to see Gobbato run the ball. The Borderites’ defense held Lynden to three and out, giving Blaine their first chance on offense at their own 19-yard line.

Borderites head coach Jay Dodd called a play that caught everyone in the stadium by surprise, especially the Lyncs’ defensive secondary.

Sophomore quarterback Nate Kramme took the snap from center and faked a handoff to fullback Cole Muder, then put the ball into Gobbato’s belly only to pull it out at the last second.

Everyone in the stadium expected the talented tailback to take most of the carries including the first one.

Still with the ball, Kramme dropped back while reeling to his right. Fooled by the slick ball handling, the entire Lyncs’ defense flowed to Gobbato. Looking downfield, Kramme saw Brett Allen, senior wide receiver, slip by the Lyncs’ defensive corners, Truman Van Dalen and Levi Vander Yacht.

Kramme slung the ball 40 yards to the wide-open Allen, who ran the remaining 31 yards for the touchdown. The two points after touchdown was good for an 8-0 Blaine lead at the 10:21 mark of the first quarter.

“They were in my face all night after we burned them on that first play from scrimmage,” Allen said.

“They would hit me on every play regardless of whether I was involved or not. I just hit back. It was nothing personal, just football. After the game we shook hands and said ‘good game.’”

After the first score, neither team could move the ball as it started to rain heavily. Then at the 5-minute mark, Blaine had the ball on its own 18. Kramme handed the ball off to Gobbato, who ran for the first of his three touchdowns.

The Blaine running back needed just over two dozen yards to break the Whatcom County total season rushing record, and he annihilated it by 265 yards.

Rushing for 293 yards, he surpassed two Ferndale runners (Robert Davis’ 4,333 yards and Matthias Wilson’s 4,321 yards) with 4,623 yards for the record and still counting.

On his first touchdown run, Gobbato broke through the first wave of defense at the 22, made one juke and then was off to the races. He had downfield blocking from his offensive line into the Lyncs’ secondary.

He had a convoy of blocking from his teammates, including speedy junior wide receiver Isaiah Jackson, who made the final blocks escorting him into the end zone.

“My two receptions were exciting and my interception tonight was rewarding, but the most enjoyment I got was blocking for my teammate,” Jackson said.

This touchdown and failed extra point sent the game into the second quarter with Blaine leading, 14-0.
In the second quarter, Gobbato had two more touchdown runs of 76 and 44 yards.

He gained 216 yards of his 293 in the first half, with the starting offensive line opening wide holes.

“Those holes were so big I could have driven a tractor though them,” the senior said.
Dodd substantiated Gobbato’s claim that it was the line that should be complimented.

“While I am proud of Gobbato’s accomplishments, our o-line makes things happen for him,” Dodd said. “We call plain ‘bread-and-butter’ running plays, and he and the line just go to work.”

He also complimented the defense. “Let us not forget our defense. They had a shutout tonight, and they all played well,” Dodd said. “A couple of them, Dwayne Ortega and Cole Muder, have been working very hard in practice to earn their playing time. It showed up on game night, as they were solid.”

“Muder did not play well in the Lakewood game two Fridays ago and lost his starting safety position,” Dodd said. “But he never gave up – he worked real hard to get his defensive spot back. My hat is off to him and the rest of the defense tonight.”

Muder enjoyed the victory, and was thinking ahead to the first dance with his girl.

“This is really great. It will be sweet at the Homecoming dance Saturday night,” Muder said. “I did work hard to get my spot back. It was as much mental as physical. I had to learn to use my head. I had to anticipate, not just what was happening in my zone, but all over the field. As a safety it is important not to get beat for long.”

Kramme had most of his passing yards, 71 of his 110, in the first half before the monsoons hit. Jackson caught two balls from him for 30 yards but a couple of the wet balls Kramme threw slipped into interceptions.

Gobbato’s final touchdown came at the 9:52 mark of the third quarter, making the score 30-0. At this point, Dodd began substituting reserves and younger players, giving them a chance to play in the big homecoming game and taste victory.

Lynden Christian quarterback Isaac Reimer was able to complete a few passes to Truman Van Dalen against the reserves, but not enough to score. The Blaine defense secured a shutout.

Blaine’s next game is 7 p.m. on Friday, October 5, at Friday Harbor, followed by Meridian at home on October 12.