By Oliver Lazenby
Blaine quarterback Cam Ellis claimed a school-record 439 yards on Friday, September 22, at Civic Field, but Bellingham capitalized on some fourth quarter luck to win 36–35.
With less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Bellingham wide receiver Ethan Fields caught a touchdown pass; the Red Raiders just needed a kick through the uprights to tie the game at 35.
Fields, Bellingham’s holder, had to stand up to catch an errant snap. Rather than putting it on the tee for his kicker, Fields scrambled left around oncoming Borderites and made it to the end zone to give Bellingham a one point lead with 1:30 left.
“[Fields] made a lot of big plays for them at wide receiver and safety,” Blaine head coach Jay Dodd said. “He was their best player and he happened to be their holder.”
Blaine had another chance to take the lead, but the team’s hopes faded with a fumble 15 yards from the end zone.
Ellis’ new record
Ellis once again broke a school record by passing for 439 yards against Bellingham. Two weeks ago, he broke a 21-year-old Blaine record by passing for 387 yards against Meridian.
“He nails the velocity and trajectory,” Dodd said. “He does a great job of surveying the field before the ball is snapped. He has a good idea of what side he’s going to throw to and he continues to go through his process to see how defenders are
going to react.”
During Friday’s game, Ellis also broke school records for completions (33) and pass attempts (51).
What to improve?
Ellis has been left throwing often, partly because Blaine’s offense isn’t doing well at protecting its running backs, Dodd said.
Blaine ran for a total of 88 yards on Friday, with Jacob Westfall rushing for 69 of those. After reviewing film from the game, Dodd sees room for improvement in his offensive line.
“I think Bellingham did a good job defending the run but our offensive line needs to emphasize run-blocking a little more,” Dodd said. “Our offensive line is screening rather than getting their hands on [the other team].”
Friday’s game was the second time this season that Blaine lost in the fourth quarter. The Borderites suffered a similar loss to Meridian two weeks ago.
“We have to finish those games off instead of sitting around waiting for them to be handed to us, because they’re not going to be handed to us,” Dodd said.
The Borderites (0–4) have played just two conference games and still have a chance at making the playoffs.
Blaine plays Anacortes (2–2, 0–1 in conference games) at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 29.