by Jack Kintner
Blaine makes decisive win over Bulldogs
Blaine rolled through another AAA opponent last Friday night as they celebrated an early homecoming with a decisive win over the Mount Vernon Bulldogs 31-21 before the biggest home crowd they’ve seen in years. It’s the second convincing win over a school from the larger division up following their 35-14 win over Sedro-Woolley two weeks ago.
The victory put Blaine’s season record at 3-1 thus far with their only loss coming in the first game against second-ranked Lynden. Since then they’ve also trounced a decent Bellingham team that had the wheels come off what had been a potent offense, once they faced the Blaine D-line.
The stands were packed for this one with people standing and sitting everywhere that’s legal to do so.
The best band in the land set the stage but the first few series were studies in offensive frustration as both teams made mistakes. Mount Vernon eventually took advantage of a series of Blaine procedure penalties and some sluggishness in the Blaine defensive backfield to score first when their quarterback, the tallest kid on the team at 6’4”, threw a 14-yard strike to wide receiver Colin Findley-Meier.
Blaine came back in the second quarter enough to hold the Bulldogs scoreless, finishing just before the half with a booming 37-yard field goal from Patrick the automatic Mulholland that took off like a moon shot, easily going 55 yards before descending below the level of the crossbar somewhere out near the freeway.
Whatever coach Jay Dodd and his assistants said during halftime, the Borderites came out for the third quarter hungry and mean, like someone’s between them and the french fries. They proceeded to beat the Bulldogs like five-dollar mules.
Ben Bohnson got things moving with a 13-yard scamper for a first down, followed by Gorze’s first completion, a modest 6-yard pass to one of Blaine’s all-league candidates, monster (6’4” 245-lb) tight end Cole Avery. He passed again, this time to Freddy Johncox for a 46-yard score and a 10-7 lead they’d never relinquish. Later in the quarter Blaine marched down to score again, this time with Ben Bohnson going the last 14 yards for a 17-7 lead. The capacity crowd went nuts, but quickly quieted down as Mt. Vernon’s Findley-Meier scored again, this time returning the ensuing kick-off 98 yards up the middle and left side.
After that little reminder it was all Blaine. The Borderites went for it on a fourth down deep in Mt. Vernon territory and missed, but on the Bulldog’s first play from scrimmage Casey McCabe intercepted a flat pass and ran it in from 13 yards out to go up 24-14. Dylan Haines went in at quarterback and tossed a perfect soft lob to deceptive sophomore Trevor Chau on the right edge of the end zone for another touchdown and a 31-14 lead.
The Bulldogs managed another score to close within ten but that was it. As if to underscore another good Blaine performance, the Borderites pushed the Bulldogs back ten or more yards four straight plays in succession to end the contest with Mt. Vernon deep in its own territory facing a fourth-and-forever.
At this point Bohnson is second and McCabe is eighth among Northwest Conference rushers with 7.6 and 7.2 yards per carry averages. Bohnson, with 21 carries for 103 yards (21-103), broke the century mark rushing for the third time in three weeks. Shane Hicks (4-7), senior Dane Ulrich (2-3) and Casey McCabe (12-49) rounded out the ground game.
The passing stats were interesting, with both quarterbacks getting a touchdown pass apiece and each amassing respectable yardage out of just a few attempts. Daniel Gorze had three completions in six attempts with no interceptions and 67 yards (3-6-0-67) and senior Dylan Haines was three for four passing with one pick and 57 yards. Touchdowns were scored by Johncox, Bohnson, McCabe and Trevor Chau, and Patrick Mullholland came away with a field goal and four PAT’s for a total of seven points and a couple of lost balls that are probably still in orbit.
Blaine next plays on the road against Squalicum high school on Thursday night, September 27. Since loosing senior running back Kevin Miller to a pre-season injury the Storm has made do with a couple of converted wide receivers since they have yet to find a quarterback who can throw to them anyway. Senior Aldo Levain had three 100+ yard games in a row until last week when junior Brandon Sanford got 108 in a 14-7 win in the rain against Sehome.
One of the key matchups will be Blaine’s defensive wall against Squalicum’s hard-hitting senior fullback, 6’3” 250 lb. Nick Wallace, whose primary role is as a blocking back in the Storm’s I-formation offense but who hits hard enough to wear “Kenmore” on his forehead.
Blaine can win this, and put another AAA notch in their belt, by stopping the Storm running game and picking on their secondary. Aside from their narrow win over Sehome, the Storm has beaten Mt. Baker 21-0 and Lakewood 71-14 before getting walloped by second-ranked Lynden 50-13.
Again, the game is at Civic Field in Bellingham on Thursday night September 27 at 7 p.m.