Blaine headed to Anacortes on Friday, October 21, to teach the Seahawks a lesson in effective border crossing. Staying true to their namesake, the Borderites occupied Anacortes’ gridiron border as if they lived there, crossing the goal line five times on their way to a 36-16 victory.
Junior running back Mario Gobbato worked Blaine’s ground-and-pound offense for a season-high 332 yards on 50 carries. His previous best of 320 yards was set just last week.
“I feel good,” Gobbato said. “My teammates are always there to pick me up after a big hit … I don’t feel [tackles] until later.”
Fifty carries brings nearly 50 tackles, and watching the 5-foot-8-inch, 150-pound Gobbato bounce back after every hit is quite a sight. By the fourth quarter, his white jersey had been stained a solid brown with dirt.
Anacortes took an early lead after a first quarter-fumble by Gobbato set the Seahawks up at the Blaine 42-yard line. Seahawks quarterback Cody Culp quickly capitalized on the opportunity with a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.J. Yost. After a successful two-point conversion, Anacortes sat on top 8-0.
Following two second-quarter Gobbato touchdown carries, Friday’s matchup entered the half still anyone’s game at 15-8, Blaine. The Borderites would continue to pull away, however, outscoring Anacortes 21-8 in the second half to earn a decisive 36-16 victory.
Blaine quarterback Nathan Kramme posted a modest two pass completion on eight attempts for 36 yards, but managed to keep the ball safely out of Seahawks hands all night, preventing any dangerous turnovers and ultimately holding down his spot. When your running back is averaging 7.46 yards per carry, there’s no need to get flashy.
“[Gobbato] gets all the yards, but it’s a testament to how well everybody else is doing their jobs, too,” Blaine head coach Jay Dodd said.
Culp went 11 for 24 with 158 passing yards but was picked off for two interceptions in the second quarter, one of which preceded a Borderite touchdown drive.
Blaine, now 3-5 overall and 3-3 in the Northwest Conference, sits in a four-team pool vying for the last two postseason spots. The Borderites return home this Thursday, October 27, to take on Sehome High School (2-6 overall, 1-5 conference). Borderites fans might remember last year’s loss to Sehome, which ended their 2010 season and playoff hopes.
Comparing Gobbato’s 2010 numbers with his current season performance seems to suggest Thursday’s game might end differently: Gobbato ran a total of 628 yards last season. This year, he has racked up a whopping 1,955 yards – 45 shy of the 2,000 mark.
Granted, Gobbato has 262 carries this season, compared to last year’s 116. That’s about 2.25 times the amount of opportunities, but considering he has already bested his 2010 rushing record three times over and septupled his 2010 touchdown total – yes, seven times the TDs – it’s safe to say he is doing more with what he is given this year. An average of two yards more per carry, to be specific.
Dodd said he doesn’t dwell on last year’s season-ending defeat, but given the Borderites’ need for a win against Sehome, he said the team is experiencing a bit of déjà vu.
“If we had won, we were in [the 2010 playoffs],” Dodd said. “We ended up losing on the last play of the game. It was a heartbreaker, so we have a little redemption ahead of us.”
Gobbato posted 220 yards against Burlington-Edison on October 7, 320 yards against Bellingham on October 15 and 332 yards against Anacortes on October 21. This yardage trend seems to point to another strong performance from Gobbato against Sehome.
The Borderites take on the Sehome Mariners at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, at Borderite Field.