Lynden Christian runs over Sultan

If the opening ceremony for the Lynden Christian Lyncs football game last Friday night at Sultan didn't get to you, the insects did. After a week-long dry spell, the field was watered, which hatched hundreds of thousands of insects of every kind. They swarmed around the stadium lights and grandstands, as the star spangled banner was played and the flag raised to half mast, in memory of the victims of last Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York, D.C. and Pennsylvania. ...

Lee Greenwood's "God Bless America" boomed over the loud speaker and a crowd of close to 1,000 sang along. No sooner than the ceremony was over, Lynden Christian was on the scoreboard. Clint Bosman took the opening kick 75 yards for a touchdown. The point after missed, giving the Lyncs a 6-0 lead.

On their second offensive possession, L.C. advanced the ball from their own 35-yard line to the other end of the field with an option-dive to their fullback, a split end reverse, and frequent runs off tackle to the strong side. Brent Berendsen punched it in from the 5-yard line for a touchdown and tailback Nathan Bosman caught the 2-point conversion - a play-action pass on a quick out.

After stopping L.C. on their third possession, Sultan fullback Drew Davison broke a 50-plus yard run down the right sideline, but fumbled as he was tackled by defensive back Clint Bosman. This was just one of five Sultan fumbles on the night, all of which were recovered by L.C., including two of their own.

The Lyncs drove the ball from their own 24-yard line, using twin sets to distract running plays to the opposite, strong side. They also hit tight end Taylor De Boer on a 12-yard crossing pattern on third-and-nine, which brought the ball to the Sultan 30. De Boer had two receptions for 99 yards in the game, both of which were the same crossing pattern from the weak to strong side of the field after he peeled off his block.

The next play, quarterback Ryan Petronella was intercepted on a quick slant. However, on the return, Sultan fumbled again, giving the ball back to L.C. at its own 31. Two plays later De Boer caught another pass across the middle and raced 69 yards for a touchdown. The point after made it 21-0, but not for long.

Sultan turned the ball over on downs on their next possession after failing to gain a yard on third and fourth down. The Lyncs took over at the Sultan 31 and quickly scored again, this time on another quick out to the flat off a play-action.

A short 2-yard pass to the flat scored on the next possession and a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Mark Holleman made the score 42-0 at half. The only score of the second half was a 1-yard run by Nathan Bosman on the opening drive.

Lynden Christian had 11 different players run the ball on Friday, mostly off-tackle to the strong side; sweeps where the back comes in motion and lines up as the slot; and option dives. Although their passing game needs fine-tuning, they can rely on crossing patterns to tight ends and quick outs to backs on play-action.

One of Lynden Christian's biggest strengths this season could be their aggressive ball pursuit. Recovering all seven combined fumbles against Sultan needs no explanation.

"You can live with everything else as long as you fly to the ball. That's what we try to teach our kids," Lyncs head coach Dan Kaemingk said.

Lynden Christian's receivers are mostly used on long-yardage situations and typically run out patterns. Until L.C. proves that they have a deep threat, their passing game will be one-dimensional and defenses will stack the line in order to stop the run.

"We've got a lot of improving to do," Kaemingk said, seemingly playing down his team's No. 3 state ranking.

In what is shaping up to be one of the biggest games in Washington State this weekend, L.C. travels to Elma to face the No. 2-ranked Eagles. The Lyncs seem ready for a challenge.

"I look at Elma and they have one play for 50 yards, one play for 70 - we're just not that kind of team," Kaemingk said. "We haven't run into a team who can throw the ball like them yet, so it should be interesting and hopefully we'll have a chance to improve."

Elma is using a two-tight end set this season, hoping to have a more balanced attack. If playing at home is an advantage, Elma will have it at the legendary Davis Field, where crowds of locals numbering in the thousands show up to cheer for their team.

Considering the rankings, this is a state championship-caliber game. More than 3-4,000 people are expected and they will flood the stands and every inch of the sidelines on Saturday. The game starts at 5 p.m. so get there early. Washington Preps will be there to provide complete game coverage and interact with fans.

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