Sports -- September 23, 2004

Published on Thu, Sep 23, 2004
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Borderites’ confidence proves well-founded

Lynden Christian’s football team came to town a week ago last Friday night with the one thing that could stymie Blaine’s passing attack: rain. Not just a polite sprinkle, either, but a downpour so heavy that if Noah were still building his ark he would have taken the day off.

The contest was more like a greased pig chase and ended with the Lyncs on top 16-6 to even Blaine’s season record at 1-1. LC senior Bryan Beld ran Blaine’s second half kick-off 80 yards for the first touchdown, and then a Blaine fumble on the ensuing kickoff set up an LC drive for their second score. LC’s next offensive threat ended in a field goal, however, and Blaine then began coming back, playing with determination up to the end.

“Weather evens everything out,” said Blaine’s head coach Dave Fakkema, “and as our kids found out, there’s less room for mistakes.” Fakkema added that the loss seemed to hurt more last week because Blaine is more competitive as a team this year and knows it can win.

Last week at Nooksack the rain held off until just before the end as five different Borderite offensive players scored six unanswered touchdowns to paste the Pioneers 41-6, evening their conference record to 1-1 and their season mark to 2-1.

“I was really happy with the way they played after falling behind early,” said Fakkema, “because they didn’t let it bother them. They just kept at it and made some good decisions, and came away with a good win.”
The opening Pioneer touchdown came on their second possession as quarterback Kyle Mitchell put together a sequence of rushing plays that ended with his going nine yards for the score. This is the same quarterback who beat Lynden Christian 39-13, passing for 211 yards in their season opener, playing behind an offensive line that outweighs Blaine’s by a meaningful margin.

But the Borderites have a kind of confidence this year that they’ve earned the hard way, and scored their first touchdown early in the second quarter on Doug Goldsby’s trademark flat pass to senior fullback and grind-it-out workhorse Sean Hicks. A few minutes later Joey Paciorek went long and managed to tip the ball away from the two defenders covering him and catch it in the end zone. Doug Goldsby hit senior Craig Rothwell for the two-point conversion to make it 14-8 at halftime.

Then the fun really began with Ryan Henley’s interception of Mitchell’s first pass in the second half which he returned to the five, deep into the Pioneer red zone. Goldsby hit Paciorek on the next play for the score. “Ryan Henley’s come up through the program,” Fakkema commented later, “and he’s turned into one very intelligent ball player.”
Goldsby then engineered another scoring attack, mostly on the ground, culminating in a five-yard scoring pass to Rothwell for his second score of the evening.

Junior defensive back and wide receiver Matt Christion covered the skilled Pioneer secondary like paint, intercepting Mitchell at midfield and scampering 50 yards for the Borderites’ fifth touchdown.
Junior running back Michael Poitras, whose off-season strength training bulked him up enough that Fakkema made him the Borderite weight room poster boy, plunged three yards for the final Blaine score. He also led all Blaine rushers with 88 yards.

The Borderites became a contender with this game, shutting down a vaunted Pioneer offense that hammered Lynden Christian 39-13 just two weeks ago.

Tomorrow night the men in black meet an intimidating but beatable Meridian team back here at home. They’re led by the experienced Jordan Slesk, who completed 22 of 28 passes against LC last week and beat them 35-12. “They’re always trying to score right now,” said Blaine’s quarterback coach Dan Delong, “and while Slesk can’t match Doug Goldsby’s passing speed and accuracy, he reads defenses before the snap very well and makes up for his slower delivery with excellent timing.”

Blaine girl scores hat trick against Blaine

Four years ago a freshman midfielder was asked if she wanted to play in goal for the Blaine JV team, a position she’d played now and again in middle school and for the FC Rangers. She didn’t like it but as one of the few capable of playing keeper did as she was asked.

Now a senior at Lynden Christian, Blaine’s Jaci Hendrickson has leapt out of the cage with a vengeance, scoring the first league hat trick of the season as LC upended Blaine 4-1 last week in Lynden. Her sister Alyssa plays for Blaine, who last year beat the Lyncs here with a solid offensive show at then goal-keeper Jaci’s expense.

“We root for both teams when they play each other,” laughed Rachel Ely, mother to both, though the stinging defeat was sweet revenge for the senior against her sophomore sister, who is smaller but has more experience.

Last summer Jaci was named to the 15-man all-star team as a forward at the Western Washington University summer soccer camp out of the 100 plus who attended.

“I really, really like playing out in the field,” she said afterwards. No kidding.

LC was up 1-0 at the half when Hendrickson sunk a penalty kick from 18 yards out in the 46th minute that barely rolled by Blaine’s stand-in keeper Pearl Emmons.

Blaine’s Andrea Harmening scored less than a minute later to close within one, 2-1, but after some energetic back-and-forth Hendrickson dribbled the ball up the left side, feinted to the right and when the defense reacted she planted her second goal in the 68th minute with her left foot.

Her third goal came five minutes later off a corner kick from Julie Bratt that she chested into the goal. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she laughed.

Girls win 4-1

“They supported well and saw a lot of chances in this one,” said head soccer coach Dan Steelquist following the girls’ 4-1 victory over Mount Baker last week at the Pipe. The team has scoring potential and has yet to be shut out, but Steelquist has had to coach some of his newer varsity players about supporting the offense at what for them is a whole new level of speed and skill. This game showed them what he’s been driving at.

After winning their first game of the season the girls dropped their second home game to Nooksack on a shoot-out and lost two on the road, one of them at Lynden Christian 1-4 (see Hat trick story).
But at the Pipe last week Blaine supported well, sophomore forward Alyssa Hendrickson and sophomore mid Mackenzie Nix both scoring twice for the win. “Very impressive,” said a smiling coach Steelquist. The Borderites next head south to Lakewood for a non-league game on Saturday.