Blowout first half leads to loss at home for Borderites

JSP_0704By Ian Ferguson

The Blaine football team couldn’t catch a break in a home game against Burlington-Edison October 16, losing the NWC matchup 45–21.

Burlington-Edison scored all 45 points in the first half on a combination of big, athletic plays and capitalizing on Blaine’s mistakes. Blaine pulled itself together in the second half and mounted a small comeback, with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Blaine’s troubles started before the game began. Three of five offensive linemen had injuries from the previous week, and it was uncertain who would play which position. As the game progressed, several more players limped to the sidelines with minor injuries.

Blaine head coach Jay Dodd said the injuries had little to do with the outcome of the game. He recognized the Tigers’ strong play, and placed the blame for his team’s loss squarely on himself.

“They’re a good football team, but the bottom line is, we didn’t play our best. I take my job very seriously, and I didn’t prepare the team as well as I should have,” Dodd said.

The Tigers scored on a 30-yard pass to start the game. Blaine’s offense went nowhere, and three bad punt plays contributed to a 17–0 score at the end of the first quarter. The first punt didn’t go far and gave the Tigers good field position that led to a touchdown. The second punt was well kicked, but a breakdown in coverage on the return gave the Tigers another short field.

Blaine’s defense made the stop, but Burlington-Edison scored a field goal. The third punt was blocked, leading to a recovery on the 1-yard line and subsequent touchdown.

“Our special teams in the first quarter broke down in all phases, from the snap to the blocking to the coverage,” Dodd said.

In the second quarter, Burlington-Edison scored four more times, including a 90-yard run and a pick-six. Blaine hit a downward spiral of errors and bad luck, as breakdowns on defense led to ineffective possessions.

“One bad play led to another,” Dodd said. “It was contagious. As head coach, I need to find a way to interrupt that cycle, whether it’s a timeout or trying a different play.”

The one bright spot for Blaine in the first half was a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Kortlever to Gunnar Arnason, with an extra point kicked by Kyle Sentkowski to give the Borderites their first seven points. It was little solace, as the score was sandwiched by four Tiger touchdowns in the second quarter.

The halftime mood was grim for the Borderites, but they were not ready to give up.

“Our kids did stick together,” Dodd said “They kept playing hard, even though they were banged up. We had some injuries to key players that affected our game plan, but the kids rallied and played better in the second half.”

The Borderites fought through a scoreless third quarter. Then in the fourth quarter Kortlever hit Anthony Ball for a diving touchdown catch from 11 yards out. Garrett Adams followed up on Blaine’s next possession with a 10-yard touchdown run. The game clock cut the mini-rally short, and the final score was 45–21.

Blaine threw for 230 yards and ran for 63 yards. Dodd said a few players with minor injuries from the Burlington-Edison game might sit out this Friday’s game against Squalicum.

“We had some rolled ankles, some hurt shoulders and knees. Nothing serious, but we want to give players time to heal. Some players might sit out the next game but we’re not sure yet,” Dodd said.

Squalicum is undefeated this year, with a swarming defense and multi-faceted spread offense.

“They do a good job running the spread, and they have a lot of good players,” Dodd said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but our kids have not quit and will not quit. They are hungry, and we’re going to do everything we can to win this game.”

The October 23 away game begins at 7 p.m.

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