Lyncs overcome early turnovers to defeat Blaine and head into league play next week
LYNDEN — The high-powered offense that led Lynden Christian to a week one 49-7 victory over Bellingham was slowed down Friday night as the Lyncs hosted Blaine in a non-league matchup.
Offensive adjustments at halftime and a strong performance on defense guided the Lyncs to a 17-0 victory over the Borderites.
After not playing last week due to Neah Bay not being able to field a team because of injuries, it had been two weeks since the Lyncs last saw any live game action.
Blaine fumbled the opening kickoff with Lynden Christian recovering, but the Lyncs turned the ball back over to the Borderites after Easton Stremler fumbled the ball into the end zone.
Stremler would redeem himself later in the game on an 18-yard score to put the game away. He led the team in rushing on the evening, racking up 106 yards on 17 attempts.
Lynden Christian coach Dan Kaemingk said not playing a game last week had a factor in the Lyncs’ miscues in the first half.
“You get so much better in week two from week one,” Kaemingk said. “Without the week two [game] I thought ‘OK, Blaine played last week, we didn’t play.’ I was a little worried we were going to come out of the gate not firing on all cylinders. Turns out we were, but then the turnover early really set us back.
Kaemingk added the fumble in the end zone on the first drive sets up the coaches into thinking it’s going to be a tough night.
The only score in the first half came off the foot of Lynden Christian’s Eli DenBleyker when he nailed a 23-yard field goal to give the Lyncs a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Lynden Christian’s offense didn’t get much going after that, but the Lyncs defense stepped up to keep the Lyncs ahead. Senior Jackson Corkill intercepted Blaine’s Will McKinney with 3:46 left in the half to stop the Borderites from driving. Corkill finished the game with the interception and six receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.
“We kind of expected [a tough game],” Corkill said. “We knew Blaine was a decent team and we were going to have to fight through it. They’re good and we didn’t come out real hot at the beginning and took awhile to wake up.”
Lynden Christian received the ball to start the second half and any adjustments made at halftime showed immediately. The Lyncs drove down the field and senior quarterback Trajan Schouten found Corkill for a 3-yard score to put the Lyncs up 10-0.
Schouten completed 18 of 30 passes for 183 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
“I thought Blaine had a really good plan,” Kaemingk said. “They made it really hard on us, but good job by our offensive staff with some adjustments to just make it a little easier in the passing game with a few easier throws. But our offensive line, I thought, did a really nice job in the second half kind of taking over.”
Corkill said everyone coming together in the second half is what led the Lyncs to the victory.
“I think the coaches up in the booth really got something going on offense,” Corkill said. “We did a lot of changes on routes and our defense really stepped it up, too. I think our team played really well.”
The Lyncs matched the Borderites defensively all night. Through two games played this season, Lynden Christian has given up only seven points.
Kaemingk said he thought senior linebackers Will Faber and Davis Gatterman had good games on defense. Being able to make adjustments during the game was easier with the two of them out on the field, he said.
“What I liked about [the defense] was that the Blaine coaches did a really nice job of changing up some things that we didn’t really expect,” Kaemingk said. “When you get something and you have to make adjustments on the fly, on the field, from the sidelines, I think it says a lot about our kids out there being able to make those adjustments.”
With the win, Lynden Christian improved to 2-0 on the season while Blaine dropped to 1-2. Blaine will host Burlington-Edison next week while Lynden Christian will take on Mount Baker at home in both teams’ league openers.