By Oliver Lazenby
With tenacious defense and long, steady offensive drives that nearly always ended in scores, Blaine controlled much of its October 7 game against league-leading Lynden (5–1, 4–0 in conference games).
But that changed halfway through the third quarter. At that point, down by 13 points, the Lynden Lions rallied to a 31–23 comeback win at their homecoming game.
“Honestly, I think we let this one slip away,” said Blaine head coach Jay Dodd. “We had three field goals, maybe some of those should have been touchdowns.”
Riley Fritsch and Kyle Sentkowski, two of the Borderites’ most consistent players, led Blaine’s offense. Fritsch rushed for 165 yards and Sentkowski kicked three long field goals, including one from 42 yards. Anthony Ball caught 11 passes for 76 yards and quarterback Jalen Kortlever threw 15 complete passes for 122 yards.
Blaine got off to an early lead, after capitalizing on a quick Lynden turnover on downs. Blaine running back Fritsch scored a touchdown five minutes into the game and Sentkowski kicked the extra point.
Lynden tied the game in the first quarter after Brody Weinheimer caught for a touchdown, and they took a 10–7 lead after Nick Parris kicked a field goal just before the end of the first quarter.
Blaine commanded the second quarter, with offensive drives of 10 and 13 plays capped by long Sentkowski field goals. In between possessions, Anthony Ball intercepted a long throw by Lynden quarterback Jacob Hommes.
Fritsch scored in the third quarter after successfully running the ball six times in a row, but then momentum swung the other way. Lynden quarterback Jacob Hommes ran the ball into the end zone at the end of an 80-yard drive, shrinking Blaine’s lead to 23–17.
After recovering a Blaine pass deflection that glanced off a helmet, Lynden had another successful offensive drive and Weinheimer scampered into the end zone from one yard.
Blaine had its last chance to retaliate after that. At fourth-and-one on the 49-yard line, Kortlever handed off to Fritsch, who carried through the middle and dove onto a pile of players. Before he hit the ground, a wave of Lynden linemen crashed on him, inching him backward to Blaine’s half of the field. After officials measured, the Borderites were inches from a first down.
Lydnen’s versatile quarterback rushed in one more score before the end of the game.
The loss puts Blaine (4–2, 2–2 in conference games) in the middle of the pack in its district with three games left to go. The Borderites’ homecoming game is against Lakewood High School at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 14 at Blaine High School.