SPORTS by Jack Kintner
Blaine defeats Bellingham Red Raiders 27-21
Playing with a combination of defensive timing and offensive grit, Blaine defeated the Bellingham Red Raiders Friday 27-21 on a rainy evening that gave the Borderites the chance to show just what they’re made of.
In short, when the going got tough, the Borderites kicked butt, earning a good spot in post-season play the hard way by defeating a team that everyone picked to beat them, and handily.
Blaine began by spotting the Red Raiders a touchdown in the first quarter when their star running back Jeremy Rick got loose for a 58-yard touchdown on their second possession.
After Blaine went four and out Bellingham got the ball back and was marching toward the Borderite goal for a second first-quarter touchdown that would have made the hole Blaine had dug for itself that much deeper. Blaine’s defense stiffened, however, and with fourth and two the Raiders called time out with two minutes to go.
They came out with a pass play to the right that was tipped by a Blaine defender into the waiting arms of David Craig, who took it 75 yards, shaking off Rick (playing defensive back) and outrunning the rest of the Raider team. Keith Sentkowski’s kick tied the score.
A subsequent on-side kick was recovered nicely by Blaine but the Borderites were unable to move the ball and the first quarter ended in a 7-7 tie.
Bellingham’s big tight end Max Nelson scored on a 24-yard pass three minutes into the second quarter but that was answered twice with Blaine touchdowns. Blaine got things going as Josh Jones returned their kickoff 40 yards all the way to the Bellingham 41 yard line.
Blaine moved quickly into the red zone and scored with a classic “here we come, try and stop us” play in which a pile of our guys pushed a pile of their guys back five yards. Underneath it all Casey McCabe held on to the ball and trudged like Conan the Barbarian carrying an army on his back through the wet turf to the goal line and beyond.
Blaine held, got the ball back and scored again with just seconds left on a McCarty to Chau pass to go up 21-14 at the half.
Bellingham tied it up again in the third quarter at 21 but then the Borderites took over the field, holding Bellingham with plays like Chris Nunez brutally penetrating the line to block both the pass and the passer, breaking Bellingham’s heart. Blaine scored the winner with a 32-yard McCarty to Chau pass with 6:15 left.
Bellingham’s drive then stalled at the Blaine 30 in the face of ferocious Borderite resistance. As the game ended Blaine had to punt but their receiver fumbled, and senior D.J. Duncan recovered as Blaine held on for the win.
Blaine’s first post-season opponent is the Falcons of South Whidbey high school. With a season record of 7-2 they’re the Cascade Conference’s second-place team. They have a ground game centered on the running of Henry Mead, who’s had a 1,000-plus yard season, and has two quarterbacks, one of them the athletic Luke Hodson, the coach’s nephew. Their regular quarterback suffered a season-ending injury against Granite Falls two weeks ago.
Blaine is healthy, including senior quarterback Daniel Gorze. “Our offensive line is getting better all the time, too,” said head coach Jay Dodd.
He attributed the team’s being in good shape to their year-around weight training. “That’s why we’ll begin the post season as healthy as we’ve ever been,” he said.
The game will be played at South Whidbey high school on Friday, November 7, at 7 p.m.
Volleyball team narrowly
loses to Sedro-Woolley
Blaine lost its last home match of the season Tuesday night 3-2 to Sedro Woolley in a close, five-set competition.
After dropping the first game Blaine won the second game after a series of heart-throbbing saves and vies 28-26. They traded the next two games, setting up the final 15-point match.
After tying it at nine, however, Woolley scored six straight points to take the game and match 15-9. Nicole Christiansen (13 out of 13 serves), Taylor Trueblood (14 for 14) and Jessica Wallen (17 of 17) were all perfect in serve, and Kristen Stanovich had 26 assists.
The Borderites closed out their season Wednesday against Mt. Baker.
Those results were not available at press time.
Borderite Runners in State Meet
After qualifying last weekend at the district meet at South Whidbey, Blaine junior Tim Bradley and freshman Kiersten Sigfusson will compete in the state cross country championships on Saturday, November 8.
For the week of October 31
10-30 Blaine 27, Bellingham 21
10-29 Anacortes 3, Blaine 0
11-4 Sedro-Woolley 3, Blaine 2