By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine varsity football is preparing for its first game this Friday and head coach Jay Dodd is excited by the team’s prospects.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m., September 2, against Nooksack Valley.
The game is a long time coming for some Blaine seniors. Dodd described the team as tight and talented, with some experienced seniors who have been waiting a long time for this season.
“We have good players at every position,” Dodd said. “We feel that we have depth and that’s something we didn’t have a lot of last year and the year before.”
That depth is most evident in the offensive line, which is stacked with seven or eight varsity-caliber linemen who spent a lot of time in the weight room over the summer.
“We’re much bigger and stronger from where these players were last year,” Dodd said. “They’ve all hit the weight room really hard and we’re really excited to see what that unit can do for us. That’s going to be a big part of our play.”
The team also has a surplus of talented wide receivers, running backs and tight ends, Dodd said. Overall, the team has a lot of experience with eight returning varsity players on both offense and defense.
The team’s captains, all seniors, are Riley Fritsch, Anthony Ball, Gunnar Arnason and Jalen Kortlever. The captains all have extensive varsity experience. Fritsch, a running back, was one of the most productive in rushing yards in the league last year, and Ball has led the Borderites in receiving since his sophomore year.
Kortlever is a newcomer as a captain but is coming off a standout year last season as a starting quarterback.
The Borderites started practicing again on August 17. They also practiced for the whole month of June and scrimmaged in Bellingham and Seattle. Many of the players spent the off-season working out at the school gym.
Last year’s graduating group was relatively small, but it did include some key players.
“Armando Moser-Hernandez, Jon Fakkema, Jon Starcer and Marcus Potts – Those were four guys who played a lot for us,” Dodd said.
After a strong start last year, the Borderites ended the season with a 2–5 record in 2A Northwest Conference games and a 4–5 record overall. Nooksack Valley, Blaine’s opponent in the season opener, finished last season with an 0–6 record in conference games and a 1–9 overall record.
The Borderites will play every Friday night until October 28. Playoffs start the first week of November.