“I know we lost the game,” Blaine head football coach Jay Dodd said, “but we really weren’t concentrating on Ferndale this week. We wanted to concentrate on the areas we needed to improve on.” It wasn’t coach-speak either. After his Borderites fell to perennial 3A power Ferndale in a wild 44-27 loss at home Friday, September 24, there was an actual bounce in his step that was absent the two previous weeks.
“Tonight, we became a team,” Dodd emphasized to his players after the game.
The point is well made. Despite the loss, which included the surrender of 420 yards on defense, only a sluggish start by the offense kept the Borderites from going blow for blow with the Golden Eagles. By the second quarter the game became a tennis match of serve and volley with each team pulling out haymakers like prizefighters. While the side lines and the stands buzzed with the revelation that former Ferndale Golden Eagle and current Husky QB Jake Locker was in attendance to watch his younger brother Riley Locker, between the lines the game still had the lingering intensity that was resonate from last year’s game at Ferndale when the Borderites stunned the Eagles.
Testament to Blaine’s improvement over the previous two weeks; the Borderites moved the ball effectively rolling up more than 300 yards of offense themselves, they committed no turnovers while getting two takeaways from Ferndale and held the Eagles to only one third down conversion. The Blaine offensive line held firm, giving up no sacks and allowing Blaine backs to run for over 100 yards rushing total. Quarterback Sean Allen, the beneficiary of that great protection, misfired early slowing the Borderites chances. Blaine only got one first down on their two first drives with Allen going three of eight in the quarter. Conversely, Ferndale took their initial two drives for a touchdown and a field goal, mounting a 9-0 lead with 5:59 left in the first quarter.
Tailback Mario Gobboto woke the offense up when on second and nine, he scurried through the Ferndale secondary for 38 yards. The next play, Allen connected with wide out Todd Bird for 32 yards.
Three plays later, Allen scrambled into the endzone from five yards out to close the game 9-7.
Blaine recovered a Ferndale fumble late in the quarter and drove to the Golden Eagle 18-yard line before the drive stalled on two incompletions and a short run. Ferndale took advantage, driving 84 yards on nine plays with Riley Locker scoring from six yards away to stretch the lead to 16-7. Blaine went three and out on the next drive, and Ferndale’s Wiley Scott took an end-around 51 yards around the left end for a touchdown for what seemed a clinching score of 23-7. Both teams slugged it out for four series without scoring before Ferndale finally converted on a long 13-play drive with Kyle Prather scoring from four yards out with 1:41 left in the quarter. Blaine went three and out and Locker took the ensuing punt 62 yards for a touchdown to stretch the lead to 37-15.
Still, the Borderites did not go quietly into the night.