Sports -- October 28, 2004

Published on Thu, Oct 28, 2004
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Borderites lose heartbreaker in last 25 seconds

What was it about not making your opponent mad because it might wake him up? At last Friday’s homecoming game, a badly outplayed Nooksack Valley clawed their way back in the second half to trail by just one point, 24-25, on a two-yard touchdown plunge late in the fourth quarter. Blaine held Nooksack’s attempt at a two-point conversion for the lead even when a penalty gave Nooksack a second chance. That time they thought they had it, but the officials said no and tempers flared.

Angry at what they felt was a missed call by the officials, the Pioneers kicked off, and after stopping the Borderites at midfield proceeded to pick apart the Blaine secondary in four plays to score again leaving just 25 seconds on the clock for Blaine to work with.
The Borderites tried valiantly but ran out of time at midfield as Nooksack celebrated the 32-25 win.

Blaine treated the packed stadium to a good contest, with four lead changes, some spectacular passing and a more or less solid defensive performance. On the first really cold night of the fall, wearing snappy new orange jerseys that each player bought for himself, the Borderites controlled the game and dominated Nooksack much as they had before when they won 41-8 last month.

The game opened like the aerial circus everyone was expecting, with Pioneer quarterback Kyle Mitchell throwing 61 yards on the opening play of the game to go up 6-0 when the try for a two-point conversion got stuffed.

Blaine came right back in nine plays to send Sean Hicks over from the one and even the score, going up 7-6 on Luke Baldwin’s extra point.
Following Blaine’s kickoff, little (5'6") Tim Harvey ran 55 yards for Nooksack’s second touchdown in as many offensive plays. Again, their attempt at a two-point conversion was stuffed at the three.

Blaine then put together a meat-grinding series that began on their own 35. Two plays went nowhere but on a third and seven Doug Goldsby took it to Blaine’s 47. On the next play Mike Poitras took it another 43 yards ending up with a first and 10 from just outside the Pioneer 10-yard line.

Blaine took 10 plays to go that last 10 yards later, including two fourth down situations in which Blaine went for the yardage instead of a field goal, and in the end Doug Goldsby ran it in from a yard out to put Blaine back in front 13-12.

The Pioneers responded by putting together a 15-play series that culminated in Mitchell passing 17 yards on fourth down to Jesh Morgan, who jumped up and spun around for a beautiful catch of a pass coming in over his head, landing backwards and well out of bounds to the right. Officials, apparently decided that Morgan must have been pushed out by Blaine’s Bryan Galbraith, nonetheless awarded the touchdown to the Pioneers.

After trading punts the Borderites gave the Pioneers a dose of their own medicine by scoring on the first play of their next offensive series with a 71-yard pass play to Joey Paciorek. Nooksack lost the ball on a fumble on their first play of the next series, and after a first down rushing by Poitras, Goldsby caught tight end Craig Rothwell with a swing pass that he took to the one-inch line.

Goldsby ran it in for Blaine’s fourth - and last - touchdown of the game and a 25-18 halftime lead.

In the second half, Blaine’s long opening series stalled on Nooksack’s 11 with a field goal attempt that sailed by on the wrong side of the upright just inches to the left. Nooksack took over and eventually punted back to Blaine, who lost the ball a few plays later when the ball carrier was grabbed by his face mask to howls of protest from the Blaine partisans who expected a penalty. Nooksack then put together their first of two second half touchdowns for the eventual win, going to 3-4 (4-4 over-all) in league play to Blaine’s 1-5.

Though the celebrating was all over on the north side of the field, Blaine put together an offensive show that got 432 yards to the Pioneers’ 336, Joey Paciorek racking up 171 of them on six catches as wide receiver. Mike Poitras was again the top Blaine rusher with 88 yards on 21 attempts.

Blaine next plays at Meridian Friday night at 7:30, and then plays their last game of the year at home against Mt. Baker at the special early time of 7 p.m., on Friday, November 5.

Girls win in dramatic fashion in penultimate game

In a dramatic finish to their last home game, Blaine defeated Mt. Baker 2-1 on Alyssa Hendrickson’s tie-breaking goal in the last minute of the game. Layla Merzoian got the assist.

“Mt. Baker likes to clog up the middle,” said girls’ soccer head coach Dan Steelquist, “so we were a lot more effective coming up the sides, which tended to push their defense back and spread them out.”

That’s exactly what Hendrickson did. After taking Merzoian’s pass as she was coming up the left side she dribbled off to her right across the field through Mt. Baker’s swarming defense. Once she got a step on the defender marking her she curved in toward the Mt. Baker goal and at a dead run lofted the ball off her right foot over the keeper’s outstretched hand and into the back of the goal.

When the two teams met previously last October 5 Hendrickson had two solo goals, so this time the Mounties covered her like a blanket. The scoring began in the 23rd minute with Andrea Harmening scoring off an assist from Ainsley Nix, answered by Mt. Baker five minutes into the second half with a solo shot by Elly Hagen.

The Borderites (5-6 league, 6-9 overall) assured themselves of a playoff spot this next week regardless of the score of Tuesday night’s game at Meridian, the last one in the regular season. Steelquist said they’ll be playing the Cascade League AA champion Archbishop Murphy at a time and place in Snohomish to be announced.

Girls varsity tennis to continue

The Blaine school board voted to continue funding varsity tennis as a girl’s sport for the coming year. “It worked well for us last year with our Title Nine compliance,” said Blaine high school principal Dan Newell, “and we have our coaches in place.” Title Nine refers to legislation first passed in 1972 that requires a school to offer an equal number of varsity sports for both boys and girls. Newell declined to name the coaches.

In other business, the board approved a resolution supporting the Special Education Alliance for Adequate Funding. District superintendent Dr. Mary Lynne Derrington said that the state legislature requires the district to furnish special education but has refused to adequately fund it. Last year some of the larger school districts in Washington asked the legislature to review this, and when they failed to furnish additional money the districts formed the alliance and sued the state.

“Last year our district spent over $71,000 of its own money on special education,” Derrington said, “so we support the alliance’s efforts to get the state to fully fund this requirement.”