In their first road game of the season, the Blaine football team rumbled over Granite Falls for a 48–0 non-league win.
Sharp passing, strong running and unyielding defense led to the win, but Blaine head coach Jay Dodd said the biggest credit goes to the front line.
“The strength for us was our line play,” Dodd said. “We were able to move the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”
The Borderites struggled out of the gate, punting to end their first drive, but that was about their only offensive misstep; Blaine scored on every possession after that. By halftime, the score was 41–0, which instigated a running clock for the rest of the game.
Junior quarterback Jalen Kortlever had an outstanding game at quarterback, throwing for 148 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Riley Fritsch ran for 157 yards, and fellow back Garrett Adams ran for 110 yards.
“We were able to start the game off by establishing the run, and our backs were able to make guys miss and make big runs happen,” Dodd said.
Blaine scored four touchdowns in the first quarter. Fritsch broke the ice with a 15-yard run. The next three touchdowns were scored on passes from Kortlever: a 1-yard pass to Anthony Ball, a 40-yard pass to Josh Fakkema and a 5-yard pass to Kendall Schroeder.
In the second quarter, Fritsch scored his second touchdown on a 44-yard run, and Fakkema scored his second touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Kortlever. Blaine’s final touchdown came in the fourth quarter, a 65-yard run by Adams.
“All our skills players played really well,” Dodd said. “To have two weeks back-to-back where we’re able to move the ball up and down the field with the run and the pass, we feel confident that we can distribute the ball evenly and take what the defense gives us.”
Blaine’s defense allowed Granite Falls only 11 first downs, 31 rushing yards and 49 passing yards, compared to 22 first downs, 280 rushing yards and 164 passing yards for Blaine.
“Our defense was able to make reads, swarm and stick tackles, and again that front line did an excellent job,” Dodd said. “We have a good balance right now, and I think the line is leading the charge.”
Among those excelling on the line are Fakkema, Armando Moser and Shaq Woods, three seniors with the skill, size and experience to make up a formidable front wall. They’ll need to continue their impressive performance for Blaine to win its first league game against county power Ferndale.
“It’s a big challenge,” Dodd said. “They have a much bigger line than the two teams we’ve faced so far. They have a strong running game, and playing at Ferndale is always a challenge because of the atmosphere – there’s a lot of people there and a lot of noise. It will be interesting to see how our younger guys adapt to that big-game situation.”
The 3A Golden Eagles are 1–1 so far this season, with a close win over Kamiakin and a loss to Oak Harbor. Dodd said the Borderites have plenty to work on in practice despite two solid performances to start the season.
“We’re focusing on lining up quickly on defense. Ferndale’s offense is very efficient, so that will be important. Other than that, it’s plugging away at the basics, with everybody concentrating on doing their job. Everyone has to have good eye discipline, know their reads and not get caught looking in the backfield,” Dodd said.
The Northwest Conference game at Ferndale on Friday, September 18 begins at 7 p.m.