Lynden and Lynden Christian kick off seasons Sept. 3
LYNDEN — Football is back in the fall for the first time in two years. Playoffs are also back for the first time in two years.
Dare we say, a normal football season is on the horizon?
Some summer camps were still absent this year, but coaches and athletes are preparing for the normal grind of fall.
Practices start next week and games start the first week of September.
With all that said, let’s dive into some team previews, starting with Lynden and Lynden Christian.
This year’s Lynden Lions team is being put to the test early.
The Lions’ schedule is the same one they were supposed to play in 2020 before COVID shook up the sports landscape.
Lynden’s week one matchup Sept. 3 is at home against Class 2A power Hockinson. The two teams last met in the 2018 state title game, a Lions’ 42-37 loss.
No two teams are the same year-to-year, and that’s obviously the case comparing these teams to two years ago, but it also applies looking at this upcoming Lions squad from the one that last took the field just under six months ago.
Lynden posted a 4-2 record in the shortened 2021 season this past spring and will be hitting the practice field next week with new faces in big roles, including a battle for the starting quarterback spot with last season’s signal caller Baylor Ayres now graduated.
In the mix for the starting quarterback job will be senior Max Moore, who played safety and receiver for the Lions last year.
Lions head coach Blake VanDalen said there was a need this summer at the position because returners were out and they put Moore back there.
“In three weeks we taught him the offense and now he’s given himself a fair shot to compete again this fall for the starting spot,” VanDalen said.
Lynden will also see a fresh look up front, having lost four starters from last season’s offensive line to graduation.
It won’t get any easier for the Lions after their week-one matchup with Hockinson as Ferndale comes to town for week two.
Following that, Lynden will play Squalicum also at home. VanDalen said they’ll know three weeks in what they’re made of.
“That’s what I’m most excited about. Those first three Fridays in September,” VanDalen said. “We’ll be home for all three. I wish that was right now, but we’ve got a lot of work to do first.”
Last year’s Lyncs had plenty of momentum heading into their 2021 COVID season with a loaded senior class coming off a trip to the state championship game the year before.
That senior class dominated their way to a 5-0 schedule in the spring, claiming the unofficial Class 1A Northwest Conference title.
Next in line for Lynden Christian is a lot of seniors looking to prove it after waiting behind the class of 2021.
“There’s so much hope for what you can be and so much development you’re going to have to accomplish, but these kids are excited to be out there,” Lynden Christian coach Dan Kaemingk said. “We’re looking forward to a fun year.”
Like Lynden, the Lyncs weren’t able to head out to their usual team camp this summer, but with scrimmages against the Lions and Mount Baker, Kaemingk thinks the team is well prepared.
“Any time you play Baker and Lynden you’re going to get a quality opponent that’s going to teach you some things about yourself,” he said.
Lynden Christian will have a new leader on offense with senior Will Colwell taking over as starting quarterback.
Senior Caleb Ryan should see more time in the backfield and senior Jamison Hintz will be a target for Colwell down the field.
Senior Roman Meenk returns for the Lyncs on the offensive line and Kaemingk said overall they’ll have enough experience to rely on.
“What you are at the beginning won’t be what you are at the end. It’s a team that’s going to develop a ton and I’m excited for that development,” he said. “You never know who’s going to come in and be those starters, but we’re happy with our senior class coming back, that’s for sure.”
The Lyncs open their season at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, with an away game at Squalicum.