Caleb Statham (6) breaks for daylight out of the backfield thanks to the stellar performance of Blaine’s offensive line on a cold, rainy night in Duvall. Statham ran 65 yards on the play for the first of four Blaine touchdowns for a 28-0 win that put them into the state football tournament.
The Borderites took the measure of an over-confident but capable Cedarcrest team last week in their opening post-season game 28-0 to make it into the state football tournament for the second year in a row.
The game was played at the Red Wolves’ well-appointed but topless stadium in Duvall, a community nestled east of Everett that’s about half loggers and half Microsofties, according to one local. The stadium’s astroturf field stood up well to a religiously impressive thunderstorm that rolled right over the field, zapping it with lightning and drenching it like a giant, endless car wash about two hours before game time. It was still so wet by 7 p.m. that even Noah himself would have been nervous, and though the field was a little slippery and it was cold enough to shiver, there was no mud and little wind.
The night before the game, at Thursday’s team dinner in the school cafeteria, Blaine was confident without being cocky, and it showed the next evening as the Borderites essentially ignored the weather, having their way with Cedarcrest from start to finish.
“They don’t hit so hard,” said linebacker Joel Garza, after the team had earlier reviewed Cedarcrest game films. “What they’re going to run into is a white-out,” he continued, referring to Blaine’s white road jerseys that effectively swarmed the immobilized Red Wolf offense all night.
Blaine received the opening kickoff and traded three-and-outs with Cedarcrest but on their second possession, Blaine forced a fumble, recovered by Brandon Heggem, and before long Jordan McCarty connected with Trevor Chau for the first of two lengthy touchdown passes.
With four minutes and change left in the half Caleb Statham got loose for one of his patented elusive runs, threading his way through the Red Wolf backfield like a Harley passing school buses, going 65 yards for Blaine’s second touchdown.
Tucker Morgan got his seventh interception of the year on Cedarcrest’s next series, ran it to the 8 to set up a McCarty to Todd Bird touchdown to make it 21-0 at the half. The McCarty to Chau combo scored again in the third quarter.
At this point Cedarcrest, now behind by four touchdowns, began trying to make lemonade out of lemons but what they got was more like lemon juice.
Their wing-T offense is designed to do one thing well, send their great running back Jacob Kriegbaum through or around the opposing defensive line, but that was canceled by Blaine’s defense. Cedarcrest tried passing its way back into the game, much to Tucker Morgan’s delight as he collected interceptions number eight and nine.
Though the Red Wolves dominated their own league all year, losing only to Archbishop Murphy on the last play of that game, Blaine was ready, willing and able and got the job done, marking their third shut-out win in a row.
“The defense was a big positive all around,” said a smiling head coach Jay Dodd in describing the win, victory number 26 for his tenure as coach. Indeed, some of the names that have become familiar over the season popped up again all night on the radio play-by-play: Morgan’s three picks, Heggem’s hungry dog linebacking and fumble recovery, the one-two punch of Johnson (Brad) and Bohnson (Al) up front, and the splendid play of perhaps the best defensive player in the league, linebacker Joel Garza. Cedarcrest, 8-1 and ranked, met Blaine like a bug meets a windshield.
Blaine led in first downs 12 to eight, rushing yards 145 to 69 and passing yards 98 to 39. Caleb Statham had yet another hundred yard plus game, getting 116 on 16 carries.
Others of note included David Craig (three carries for ten yards), Tyler Chau (5-6) and Cody Dampier (4-20). For Cedarcrest, Kriegbaum managed only a wellbelow par 64 yards on 16 carries.
McCarty completed seven passes with one pick for 98 yards, three touchdowns and one two-point conversion. Chau caught five passes for 80 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Todd Bird caught two for 18 yards, a touchdown and the second quarter two-point conversion.
Blaine’s next match against tenth-ranked and undefeated W.F. West high school out of Chehalis, Evergreen Conference champs, will be much tougher but is a winnable contest for the orange and black. Blaine has shown itself to be a championship caliber team that likes to settle things on the field. From here on out, it’s the best meeting the best, just what you look forward to.
“West’s quarterback Ben Ternan was named offensive MVP and defensive end Jake Steelhammer got defensive MVP,” said Dodd in assessing Saturday’s opponent. “It’s a passing team that also likes to run the option.” The contest is set for Saturday, November 14, at 3 p.m. The neutral field chosen is Tumwater high school’s stadium just south of Olympia, at 700 Israel Rd S.W. in Tumwater. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students from either school with an ASB card.