Blaine was “outplayed and outcoached” by Mount Baker, Blaine coach Jay Dodd said after the away football game on October 25 where the Mountaineers routed the Borderites 52–19.
“We didn’t play well or coach well in any phase of the game,” Dodd said. “Our secondary [defense] really struggled, and I’m the secondary coach, so I put that on myself.”
Mount Baker wielded an arsenal of misdirection plays that caught Blaine’s secondary looking at the backfield. As a result,
Mount Baker’s offense game put up significant rushing yardage from the onset of the game. Mount Baker ran up the score 28–0 by midway through the second quarter.
Coming into the game, Blaine was wary of running back Izaiha Schwinden, who has rushed for almost 800 yards this season, and quarterback Andrew Zender, who has a high completion percentage and a reputation for quick scrambles.
Blaine did a good job containing those two. Schwinden was held to 22 yards in 11 rushes, and Zender was held to 37 yards rushing, but the rest of the Mountaineers’ offense filled the vacuum of coverage. Liam Short ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns, and Travis Lindsay ran for 73 yards, while Zender completed six of 12 pass attempts for 98 yards.
Midway through the second quarter, Blaine senior Cole Muder, who is second in the Northwest Conference in rushing yardage, carried the ball to a fourth-and-short in Mountaineers territory. A Mount Baker penalty made it first-and-goal. Sophomore quarterback Marcus Potts, who has been the Blaine starter since junior Nathan Kramme suffered a knee injury October 18, faked the handoff, dodged two tackles and ran into the end zone. Blaine failed to convert the two-point attempt, making the score 28–6.
On Mount Baker’s subsequent drive, Short ran for a 65-yard touchdown. Blaine answered right back when freshman wide receiver Anthony Ball beat his coverage and caught a 64-yard touchdown pass with 1:48 left in the first half. Blaine tried another two-point conversion and was stopped, making the score 35–12. Mount Baker scored a field goal on the last play of the half to bring the score to 38–12.
The Borderites didn’t adjust in the second half. Mount Baker scored early in the third quarter, then forced a three-and-out and a fumble on the Blaine punt, which put the Mountaineers on the Blaine two-yard line. A couple of valiant stops by the Blaine defensive line, led by junior Jon Fakkema, weren’t enough to prevent the Mount Baker touchdown.
The interior seven of the Borderite defense, and Fakkema in particular, were a bright spot in the game for Dodd.
“They did a decent job all night getting off their blocks and making stops,” Dodd said. “Jon Fakkema played a heck of a game on defense.”
Blaine’s third and final touchdown of the night came from senior running back Brian Ferrer, who gained 46 yards on nine rushes for Blaine. Ferrer carried on three plays in the drive leading up to the touchdown, and senior wide receiver Jordan Antonson made two big gains on passing plays to bring the ball to the two-yard line. Ferrer carried it in and kicker Peter Benne scored the extra point.
In the final minutes of the game, freshman quarterback Jalen Kortlever made two quick passes and handed off to Ferrer for a first down.
The Halloween home game against Nooksack Valley is the last regular season game on the schedule. If Blaine wins, and if Meridian defeats Mount Baker on the same night, Blaine will be tied for first in the Northwest Conference with Mount Baker and Meridian heading into the post-season.
“We just have to worry about Nooksack Valley, and they’ll tell us where to play after Thursday’s game,” Dodd said.
The Pioneers are 1–3 in conference play. Quarterback Tanner Myhre has passed for more than 1,000 yards this season. The Borderites will take on the Nooksack Valley Pioneers at home Thursday, October 31.