By Oliver Lazenby
In a come-from-behind victory led by senior wide receiver Anthony Ball, the Borderites varsity football team won its season opener against Nooksack Valley last week.
Ball caught 11 passes for 222 yards and scored three of the Borderites’ five touchdowns, propelling the team to a 35–21 win
Nooksack Valley took a quick lead and went into the second quarter up 14–0. But Blaine, recovering from first-game jitters, answered with a couple of touchdowns in the second quarter and ended the half trailing 21–14.
In the second half, wide receiver Ball led the offense, making several spectacular airborne catches in which he was just ahead of the Pioneers’ defense.
“Me and my QB Jalen [Kortlever] have a bond that I don’t think any other team has, honestly,” he said. “When he throws the ball he knows I’m going to catch it and when I run a route I know where he’s going to throw it.”
Ball caught a 15-yard pass from Kortlever in the third quarter and a 22-yard pass in the fourth. Borderite running back Riley Frisch clinched the win with a 52-yard run to the end zone with just more than four minutes left in the game.
Both teams had few seniors last year and as a result, now have lineups with ample varsity experience. Ball has played on varsity since his freshman year.
“I’ve learned a lot the past four years,” he said. “It’s finally clicking. It’s just a lot easier since I know what to expect.”
After the game Ball and head coach Jay Dodd praised the Borderites’ defense in the face of 6’5″ Pioneer quarterback
“He’s a great quarterback. We knew it was going to be a big challenge,” Dodd said. “But that was an objective coming into the game, just to hit him as often as we could.”
The Borderites’ defense spent the week leading up to the game working on “tackling in space,” or tackling in the open field, Dodd said. That’s something the team reviewed at half time.
“In the first half we were lining up right on defense, but once the ball was snapped we weren’t going to the right places,” Dodd said. “As the game progressed I think we settled down. We were able to get to the right place and tackle well in space.”
The Borderites’ next game is at 7 p.m. Friday, September 9 at Meridian. Their next home game is Friday, September 16 against Sedro-Woolley.