By Oliver Lazenby
Another strong showing at home on Friday secured the Borderites a spot in the district playoffs and gave some key players a rest before the final regular season game.
In a 48–0 blowout, the Borderites beat Sehome (0–8) and secured the fourth spot in the district playoffs crossover game, the one qualifying contest for the state tournament. It’s Blaine’s first trip to the district playoffs since 2013. Before that, Blaine regularly made the district and even state playoffs, said Jay Dodd, who’s been the Borderite head coach since 2006.
“It’s exciting to get back on track,” Dodd said. Blaine’s senior night game against Sehome was a showcase for Blaine’s 21 seniors in their final game at home.
“The seniors did a great job of leading us,” Dodd said.
The team’s senior offensive standouts started it off. Anthony Ball scored on Blaine’s first possession on a 53-yard pass from Jalen Kortlever. After making the catch at the 35-yard line, Ball ran 15 yards and then paused to let a Sehome safety run by him before he continued into the end zone.
Blaine’s other offensive stalwart, Riley Fritsch, scored the next touchdown in the second quarter on a 59-yard run. Fritsch scored again in the same quarter and rushed for a total of 89 yards.
Other Blaine touchdown scorers were Hudson Reid on an 8-yard reception, Garrett Adams on a 14-yard run and Julian Gonzales on a 49-yard run. River Markusen scored two on a blocked punt return. Markusen and the rest of Blaine’s defense held Sehome to just 30 offensive yards.
Sehome fought hard the whole way through, snagging interceptions and winning fumbles – which were frequent for both sides as mud patches in the field blossomed in the rain.
Blaine’s commanding lead allowed players who don’t normally get much playing time to shine in the second half. Sophomore Cam Ellis got some time at quarterback and Ethan King kicked an extra point. It also let key players rest and recover from injuries before the last game of the season at Burlington-Edison (5–2, 3–2 in conference games) this Thursday.
Co-captain Gunnar Arnason and standout sophomore wide receiver Chase Abshere have both been out for several games with minor injuries, and big senior lineman John Kramme has been banged up much of the season, Dodd said. They all got Friday off. Blaine’s first playoff game, on November 5, is a district cross game in which it will play a top-ranked team from the Wesco, Cascade or Kingco district.
If the Borderites beat Burlington-Edison this week they’ll earn the No. 3 seed and will face Archbishop Murphy in the first playoff game.
Archbishop Murphy made national headlines after four opponents in a row forfeited, concerned that Archbishop Murphy’s six players over 250 pounds would leave them battered.
No one has scored yet against Archbishop Murphy this season. If Blaine loses to Burlington-Edison and Lakewood also loses one of its final two games, Blaine will be the fourth-ranked team in the first round of playoffs and
will likely play Liberty.
Photos by Janell Kortlever