By Ian Ferguson
The Blaine Borderites stunned Sehome in a come-from-behind win at Civic Stadium, and although the final minutes of the game were plenty exciting, they probably weren’t what coaches had in mind.
Blaine defeated Sehome 20–19 in a Northwest Conference (NWC) game September 27. Multiple fumbles and a broken play led to the last-second winning touchdown.
Sehome jumped to an early lead right off the bat when their star running back Taylor Rapp scored on a 75-yard run in the first play of the game. Rapp’s speed was on display again late in the fourth quarter when he prevented Borderite Anthony Ball from tying the game by chasing him down and stripping the football. Ball had caught a pass from quarterback Nathan Kramme and was streaking towards the end zone, where the extra point would have given Blaine the lead.
Sehome recovered the fumble with a six-point lead and less than two minutes to play, but the Borderites weren’t ready to give up. Sehome fumbled a snap at their own 12 yard-line, and Kramme dove for the ball, wrestling it away and securing possession.
“He basically saw the ball and wanted it more than anyone else,” said Blaine coach Jay Dodd.
Ball redeemed himself from his earlier fumble with quick thinking and good hands on a broken play that led to the game-winning touchdown. Kramme dropped back to pass but came under pressure from the Sehome corner. Ball moved to open space and caught Kramme’s razor-sharp pass to tie the game. Kicker Kyle Sentkowski sealed the win for Blaine with the extra point.
The electrifying fourth quarter was made possible by a steady Blaine comeback after Sehome dominated the first half of the game. Scoring on their first play from scrimmage with a successful extra point, the Mariners went on to score a field goal and another touchdown with a blocked extra point in the second quarter.
The Borderites put their first points on the board just before the half.
“We went into our hurry-up offense and it led to a 65-yard touchdown run by Riley Fritsch,” Dodd said.
The Borderites attempted a two-point conversion to get within a touchdown of their opponents before the half, but the pass was incomplete.
“At the half we were feeling OK because we knew we could play better,” Dodd said. “We came out and played really good defense and special teams in the second half.”
Sehome was held to a single field goal and Blaine didn’t score in the third quarter. Late in the fourth, the Borderites put together a long drive, with Kramme scrambling for yardage. They scored their second touchdown on a three-yard pass to Josh Fakkema.
The Borderites attempted an onside kick, but Sehome was able to maintain possession. With a few time-outs to burn, Blaine’s defense forced a three-and-out, but the ensuing punt pinned the Borderites on their own 1-yard line with less than three minutes to play.
Kramme took command of the offense and began to march downfield. Three plays into the drive, he hit Ball with a pass behind the Mariner defense, and Rapp’s strip led to the topsy-turvy final plays of the game.
“It was a very exciting game at the end,” Dodd said. “We could have played better, especially in the first half. We basically spotted them a touchdown right off the bat.” Dodd said he was impressed by Sehome’s front line.
“They were very good defensively, and their line was strong on both sides of the ball. They had a stout defensive front and we didn’t get a lot of movement on them,” he said.
Blaine’s offensive production was an even mix of runs and passes, with a majority of yardage coming in just a few plays throughout the game. Kramme completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 167 total yards. Fritsch carried 15 times for 85 total yards, and Kramme covered 70 yards over 18 carries.
“Our offense is going to have to keep grinding away, play smart and limit turnovers,” Dodd said.
Defensively, Blaine was able to keep Rapp in check after he scored on the first play.
“Our front seven did a great job on defense of stopping their run game. Armando Moser did a great job on the front line as did our two linebackers Rudy Nolasco and Kaden Foster,” Dodd said.
The strategy looking ahead will be to continue improving on the solid defensive platform and working on offense to limit mistakes and make production more consistent.
“Our defense right now is playing very well,” Dodd said. “We need to protect the ball on offense and let our defense get more playing time.”
Those working points will be key in the Borderites’ homecoming game against Sedro-Woolley.
“Sedro-Woolley is 4–0 and very good defensively. We’re working on ways to keep moving the chains consistently on offense,” Dodd said.
The Borderites’ homecoming game against Sedro-Woolley is on Friday, October 3 at Blaine High School Stadium. The game begins at 7 p.m., with homecoming festivities beforehand.