Sports -- November 01, 2007

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2007
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by Jack Kintner

Bresnan heroic in squeaker over Lynden Christian

In a break-out game for senior receiver Alex Bresnan, Blaine beat Lynden Christian for the second straight year, hanging on for a narrow 20-18 victory after scoring early last Friday night in Lynden.

It’s the second time in a row Blaine’s had a stinko game (Burlington on October 5 and Mt. Baker at home on October 19) followed by a stellar performance wins at Anacortes 24-21 and Friday’s game at LC.

The big difference, according to head coach Jay Dodd, was the play of Blaine’s offensive line. “I was really impressed with their play, and how they picked it up this week over last,” he said after the game.

But it was definitely Bresnan’s night. He caught four passes for 63 yards, including a 37-yard reception to set up a touchdown and a five yard reception two plays later for the score. He got a fourth quarter interception in the end zone to stall a late LC drive and seemed to be everywhere in Blaine’s otherwise somewhat porous pass defense.

The big play of the night defensively for DB’s Bresnan and Shane Moore was when they combined to foil a last-ditch two point conversion that would have tied the game with just a minute and 39 seconds left.
That was after LC engineered a flawless march down the field with three successive completed passes and a final three-yard run for a touchdown to close within two points of Blaine at 20-18.

LC went for the tie with a two-point conversion, but the pass went awry thanks to excellent coverage on intended receiver Cody Miller by Moore and Bresnan.

LC’s attempt at an on-side kick failed to travel the necessary ten years and Blaine took over in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
Quarterback Daniel Gorze was 17 of 33 with three picks for an impressive 254 total yards in the air. Freddy Johncox had 77 yards receiving, one long pass reception setting up David Craig’s first quarter ramble into paydirt for a 7-0 Blaine lead.

Johncox was also picked to throw a long halfback pass at the end of the first half that intended receiver Alex “who else” Bresnan almost got despite being triple teamed.

Blaine added another 89 yards rushing offense, 83 of which were earned by workhorse running back Ben Bohnson. Sophomore running back David Craig, whose correct playing weight is 130 pounds, had just one rush for three yards, but it was huge, putting Blaine in the lead early for the first time since football was invented.

With the win and Mt. Baker’s lopsided loss to Lynden, Blaine secured third place among class 2-AA teams in the Northwest Conference with a 3-3 record, and finishes the season 6-3 overall. Last year’s team finished 5-4.

Blaine’s next plays the crossover game against Cedarcrest high school in Duvall, nine miles south of Monroe on highway 203, on Saturday evening, November 2.

The Red Wolves were 8-1 this season, their only loss coming at the hands of Everett’s Murphy high school. Winning means advancing one round beyond what they managed to do last year, but losing, as with every game from here on out, means coming home.

Lady B’s dented in narrow loss against Granite Falls

Blaine did everything but throw hand grenades in a road game last week against Granite Falls but in the end came up short in a season-ending 2-1 loss in quad overtime.

It was as narrow a difference between winning and losing as can be had, and Blaine had its chances. In the first half Wren Baldwin broke free and hammered home a kick that curved just inches wide, bouncing harmlessly off the post. She later scored to tie the game with four minutes left on a good solo effort off an assist by Amanda Allison.

Bailey Richardson got a 25-yard free kick in the first overtime but hit the crossbar.

Janelle Gobbato, as usual, made save after save, sacrificing the body when needed, and Coach Dan Steelquist also singled out Alison Raine at midfield as having been critical to keeping Blaine in the game. It was a long one, too, requiring concentration and focus all the way through two 40-minute halves and two more five minute overtimes until the ninth kick in the fourth overtime shoot-out.

“Granite likes to play a flat defense to get pressing teams like ours to go offside, and we got our share,” said Steelquist. The team was called offside on six offensive penetrations.

Steelquist said they began tentatively in the first half, when Granite Falls got its first score 16 minutes in. They took control in the second half but just couldn’t quite turn the corner, sending the game into a long overtime and the eventual shoot-out win for Granite Falls.

As he says every week, Steelquist again reiterated how proud he is of this team, one that’s learning to win at this level and which, for the most part, will all return next year.

The record for this season, 4-9 in league and 6-11 over-all, was good enough for fifth place.

Blaine’s ladies off to district play

Blaine’s ladies of the hardcourt have catapulted themselves into district tournament play this week with a cliff-hanger 3-2 win on the road against Granite Falls last Monday night on scores of 25-21, 18-25, 25-16, 20-25 and 15-13. Granite Falls is the second team.

What this young team may lack in maturity and experience they’ve more than made up for with tenacity and guts.

Hallberg came up with a slogan for the post-season, “new season, new level,” and out of somewhere they pulled it together big time in Granite Falls, a town where admitting you’re from Blaine can get you a knuckle sandwich.

It was a match of long volleys and last-second saves in which Vee Rooney, who descends from the rafters like an avenging angel to smash the ball halfway to China, got 17 kills.

Jordan Oldham went 11 for 11 from the service line (including an ace) and the bad news twins Maria Swansen and Alex Hendricks-Hockey got 10 blocks.

It was tense right up to the end. “Jessica Wallen had a great saving dig in the 5th game with the score 13-13, and we were able to convert to send it to 14-13,” said Hallberg. “Then Granite sent a free ball to us that was passed perfectly by Jessica Wallen to Libby Moore who set it perfectly to Veronica Rooney for the smashing kill to end the game 15-13.”

Defensive ace and libero Jessica Wallen got 11 digs and reliable Libby Moore had 33 assists and a couple of kills of her own.

And when all that wasn’t enough, two plays that Hallberg called “outstanding” came from Hunter Ives, another of the wunderkind freshmen who will all be back next year, when she was subbed to give Rooney a break.

Hallberg also cited junior outside hitter Nicole Christiansen and sophomore Taylor Trueblood for outstanding contributions.
As the girls found out, that long trip home from Siberia Falls is a lot easier to take after a win.

Blaine lost the last game of the season last week on the road against Anacortes 3-0 with scores of 25-17, 25-17 and 26-24, but head coach Nikki Hallberg said that the loss may have been a blessing in disguise.
Granite Falls is the second team Blaine has eliminated from post-season play, having dispatched Bellingham three weeks ago at home.

A play-in game is a loser-out qualifier for post-season play between teams in different leagues with similar records. With the win over Granite Falls Blaine puts themselves into the double-elimination 8-team district tournament. Four of the teams will go to the state tournament in Kennewick November 8 and 9.

Blaine’s first district playoff game in many years will be at South Whidbey high school on Wednesday, October 31 at 4 p.m. against Lynden.

Borderite Scoreboard
For the week of October 26

Football       10/26 Blaine 20 @ LC 18       Soccer       10/25 Granite Falls 2, Blaine 1, 40T       Volleyball       10/24 Anacortes 3 @ Blaine 0   10/29 Blaine 3, Granite Falls 2