Blaine’s varsity football team’s offense was virtually unstoppable in a game against Bellingham’s Red Raiders on Friday, September 21, as the Borderites racked up 641 total yards with 590 of them coming on the ground.
Blaine had three runners gain more than the coveted century mark of 100 yards, but two of the runners had five fumbles between them. The passing offense was just as inconsistent with three interceptions. The offense was their own worst enemy as they allowed the Red Raiders to keep the game close.
Borderites head coach Jay Dodd was happy with the victory, but not with all the turnovers. “This was the last tune-up game before our 1A conference contest begins this week with Lynden Christian,” Dodd said after the game. “There is no time for miscues. There is no place for undisciplined mistakes. You saw tonight we played those who did not give up the ball.”
Outside of the red zones (the 20-yard line) Blaine’s offense looked liked a well-oiled machine. Once inside the red zone they imploded, giving up five turnovers.
Disgruntled, Dodd said the interceptions could have been avoided. “Two out of three came when we threw the ball late or into double coverage. We tried to force the ball into their cover three scheme,” he said. “In this defense, they split the defensive secondary into three equal zones, freeing up their safety to double team our receiver. We tried to pass the ball in there anyway, with disastrous results. A couple of our backs were just as careless. They did not hold the ball high and tight to their bodies; they let their elbows fly allowing the ball to come out. All in all we gave them back the ball eight times.”
Cole Muder was the bright star among skilled position players. He ran for 184 yards on 18 carries. Most of his real estate came in the second half, when the Borderites needed clean carries to run down the clock and preserve the win.
“Bellingham, being down only one score, was punching and grabbing at the ball trying to get it away from me. I really had to concentrate on keeping possession,” said Muder, a 5'10'', 170 lb. junior. “Sometimes I just wrapped both arms around the ball as I ran through the line.”
The sticky-fingered running back raved about his offensive line. “Those guys opened up big holes to run through,” Muder said.
The senior-dominated offensive line that Muder was so happy with consisted of Miguel Ramos, Dwayne Ortega, Palmer Sandel, James Fakkema and his younger brother, sophomore Jon Fakkema.
Dodd said he was happy overall with the defensive effort.
“The Raiders only scored on big plays,” he said. “We limited them to just 81 yards rushing. Even though our starting back ran for 286 yards we pulled him in the fourth quarter in favor of Muder. He was our most sure-handed ball carrier tonight.”
Then, pausing for a minute, Dodd said, “We must acknowledge the special effort Tyler Kelly put out tonight. The coaching staff asked him to move from his customary wide receiver spot to play fullback for us. It was because Caleb Johnson received a concussion in last week’s Lakewood game.”
“The coaches told me about the position change last Saturday,” Kelly said. “Then on Monday and Tuesday they did a real good job of explaining all the plays of the new position to me, so I picked it up quickly.” Kelly caught a touchdown pass he made as a wide receiver. “It does not matter,” he said. “I do not mind making a change for the good of the team.”
Blaine plays next at 7 p.m. Friday, September 28, at Blaine.