by Jack Kintner
Every year Blaine plays a home game in the rain, and this time it was against a stubborn Mt. Baker team whose defense was just two points better than Blaine’s.
The final score was a depressing 8-6, Blaine falling short by a missed two-point conversion.
As it was, Blaine’s touchdown came on a deflected pass, a ten-yard strike to Trevor Chau that the heads-up sophomore chased down for the final grab and the score, leaving the Mountie defender flat on his back.
Mt. Baker had scored earlier, and had lucked out with a desperate pass that connected for a two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead late in the first quarter. Blaine’s touchdown was set up by a 22-yard scamper by Ben Bohnson and a very nice 23-yard pass reception by Chau, who then caught the bouncing ball on the next play for the score.
The Borderites opted for a pass play of their own for the tie but Daniel Gorze’s pass fell incomplete, leaving Blaine two points short with a good old October monsoon coming in across the harbor.
After that it was pretty
much a back and forth defensive struggle in a field that
was getting deeper and muddier with each play. Blaine did
catch one break when a play that might have broken open
for a Mt. Baker score was called back due to an official’s
On the next attempt, when the down was repeated, the play went nowhere.
With Casey McCabe still out with an injury Blaine’s running chores fell to Ben Bohnson and Shane Hicks, who combined for 91 yards, and Shayne Moore, whose single attempt gained a yard in the difficult going. In the air quarterback Daniel Gorze connected on eight of 21 attempts for 81 yards and two interceptions, the second a game killer for Blaine.
Late in the game, with just under four minutes to go, Cole Avery blocked a punt that gave Blaine the ball at midfield.
Passes to Alex Bresnan and Freddy Johncox moved the ball down to just inside the Mt. Baker 35, but then Mountie linebacker Derek Johnson, the same one who caught the pass for the two-point conversion, intercepted Gorze.
With the loss Blaine is now right at .500 with a 3-3 league record, 5-3 in conference and over-all. They’ll clinch the number three seed in post-season if Lynden beats Mt. Baker this week, which is likely. If Mt. Baker somehow beats Lynden and Bellingham beats Anacortes, then Blaine will have a mini-playoff on October 27, but in all likelihood their next game will be as the number three seed at the Cascade league team’s home field on November 2.
In the meantime the Borderites must focus on an improving Lynden Christian team, 5-3 over all and, like Blaine, at .500 in their 1-A league with a 1-01 record. LC’s senior quarterback Kyle Kennaw is a Jake Locker-style running quarterback, so adept at it that coaches had him focusing just on his passing in the off-season.
They have an accomplished running back/tight end in Niels Brisbane and a better offensive line than last year, anchored by the big Brett Vande Hoef.
Though the Lynx lost to Meridian (like everyone else has this year) they beat Nooksack Valley last week 33-20 and promise to be a good match for the team.
The game is at LC and starts at 7 p.m.
Blaine girl’s soccer lost its final regular season game at Mt. Baker last week 1-0, the game winner coming with just minutes left in a game that saw Blaine keeper Janelle Gobbato make nine saves.
The loss dropped Blaine into fifth place and requires a play-in game at Granite Falls for Blaine to advance to the double-elimination district tournament. Granite Falls is 6-7 in league play this year, compared to Blaine’s 4-9.
“I like our chances against Granite,” said head coach Dan Steelquist, “if we can get everyone on the team to do the same thing, focus on winning.”
Thursday’s game will be played at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, the winner going on to the districts to play Burlington on Saturday, October 27.
For more information, the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association’s website maintains a tourney bracket at www.wiaa.com.
Despite the 3-0 score, Blaine girl’s volleyball showed up well against eastern county rival Mt. Baker and pushed them, especially in the first game which went into extra points before Mt. Baker emerged a 26-24 winner.
The Mounties closed out the evening winning three straight, the second and third by identical 25-19 scores.
Mt. Baker is led by senior setter Courtney Van Brocklin, whose grandmother ran the local senior center for many years. Van Brocklin is the heart of their offense and garnered 18 assists, seven blocks, nine digs and eight kills.
Blaine’s freshman setter Libby Moore had 23 assists, Vee Rooney added nine kills and sophomore Maria Swansen added another six. Jessica Wallen had nine digs and sophomore Taylor Trueblood defended the Blaine side well.
Blaine was undone
in the second and third games by several two-hit calls
and some thundering hits that sent balls way over the endline.
On the other hand the team served 90 percent on the evening, a winning effort against an opponent who, when on, is very difficult.
Once this young team is able to be more precise and in control, they’ll begin winning a lot more.
At the Mt. Baker Invitational the Lady B’s played well against some stiff non-league competition, winning one match.
Their last home game before entering into post-season play was after press time, a contest with a 2-10 Anacortes team for fifth place.
There is a play-in game on Monday, October 29, and then district playoffs begin Halloween night.
For the week of October 25