Whatcom County’s Class 2A teams begin their conference schedules this week, as local 1A programs push through an extended non-league slate.
Local teams went 6-4 last week and, once again, week three features just one inter-county game among the nine that will be played.
Here’s what you should know about the upcoming games in week three.
Game of the week: Glacier Peak at Ferndale
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Ferndale High School
Ferndale record: 2-0
Ferndale last week’s result: Beat Oak Harbor, 26-6
Glacier Peak record: 1-1
Glacier Peak last week’s result: Lost to Camas, 55-20
Final prediction: 30-24, Ferndale
Ferndale's Conner Walcker leaps for the ball as Lynden’s Cooper Moore (0) breaks up the pass Sept. 1 during the Golden Eagles' season-opening win over Lynden. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
This was one of three leading candidates for game of the week, but Ferndale unveiling its brand-new stadium after sharing Blaine’s home field for two seasons tipped the scale in favor of the Golden Eagles.
Ferndale, which has already moved into its freshly constructed academic buildings, will now get to play at its own campus for the first time since March 20, 2021. The Golden Eagles, in addition to playing in front of a home crowd, will have the motivation of last year’s loss to the Grizzlies — a 42-14 defeat at Lumen Field in Seattle.
A possible season of regression for Ferndale in 2023–24 has begun with two statement wins, one over reigning 2A state champion Lynden and the other against Oak Harbor. Defeating Class 4A Glacier Peak in the Golden Eagles’ home opener could be just the juice they need to solidify themselves as contenders in Class 3A.
Junior running back Talan Bungard, who rushed for more than 130 yards in the season opener, did so again against Oak Harbor, totaling 133 yards on 18 carries, according to Whatcom Preps. The Grizzlies will be forced to try and stop him if they want to halt Ferndale’s attempts to control the clock in its favor.
Glacier Peak lost 26 seniors at the end of last season, making it a much different team — like Ferndale — than it was the last time these two squads met.
Ferndale player to watch: WB/S Conner Walcker, senior
Walcker is arguably the most talented player on Ferndale’s roster, evidenced by his commitment to Eastern Washington University ahead of the season.
In addition to being a big-play threat on offense, Walcker recorded 12.5 tackles and two pass deflections in the Golden Eagles’ win over Oak Harbor, according to Whatcom Preps. Expect him to make things tough for Glacier Peak’s offensive unit and be a nuisance for its defense if much of the focus is on stopping Bungard.
Glacier Peak player to watch: RB Chrisvin Bonshe, senior
Bonshe has been one of the team’s lone bright spots on offense thus far in 2023–24, and he will pose a threat to Ferndale’s sturdy defense. Last year the senior sat behind Trey Leckner — now at Washington State University — and Ryan King, who went on to play at Santa Barbara City College.
Squalicum at Lynden
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Lynden High School
Lynden record: 1-1
Lynden last week’s result: Beat W.F. West, 48-6
Squalicum record: 2-0
Squalicum last week’s result: Beat Seaquam (British Columbia), 26-24
Final prediction: 40-16, Lynden
Lynden bounced back in a big way in week two, silencing the flurry of doubts that came after its 24-game win streak was snapped by Ferndale on Sept. 1. Squalicum, which faced back-to-back teams from British Columbia to fill out its non-league schedule, still has questions lingering after squeezing by Seaquam in week two.
No disrespect to the Canadian teams, but the level of competition presented by those squads doesn’t come close to rivaling the teams in the 2A Northwest Conference.
That’s not to say Squalicum can’t be competitive in this game — 10th-year Storm coach Nick Lucey is among the best in the county, and the team has plenty of talent.
The Storm are going to run the ball and run it a lot. Squalicum’s offense is led by running back-turned-quarterback Marcus Nixon, who has filled in as the team’s field general after Josh Leonard transferred to Bellingham ahead of this season.
Lynden will, of course, counter with its own powerful offense that didn’t hold back against W.F. West after scoring just 14 points in its season opener. Both teams still have something to prove in this game, which is the beginning of both of their league schedules.
Sehome at Sedro-Woolley
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Sedro-Woolley High School
Sehome record: 2-0
Sehome last week’s result: Beat Blaine, 44-6
Sedro-Woolley record: 2-0
Sedro-Woolley last week’s result: Beat Eisenhower, 49-3
Final prediction: 28-21, Sehome
This game will be must-see high school football. Both teams are beginning their league schedules, and each expects to make a run at the 2A state tournament later this year.
Sehome sophomore quarterback Nolan Wright is coming off a historic performance against Blaine that saw him toss six touchdown passes, and junior wide receiver Andre Watson also caught five passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns.
The Mariners have outscored opponents 79-18 through two weeks, and Sedro-Woolley has outscored its opponents 83-10. Something has got to give.
Sedro-Woolley junior quarterback Carsten Reynolds — already a three-year starter — carved up Eisenhower to the tune of 151 yards passing, 122 yards rushing and five total touchdowns in week two, according to a post on X, formerly Twitter.
This game’s quarterback battle will be quite the spectacle.
Nooksack Valley at King’s
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, King’s High School
Nooksack Valley record: 2-0
Nooksack Valley last week’s result: Beat Connell, 63-14
King’s record: 2-0
King’s last week’s result: Beat East Jefferson, 55-0
Final prediction: 45-40, Nooksack Valley
Nooksack Valley’s Colton Lentz leaps over a Connell player for a touchdown on Friday, Sept. 8. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
Nooksack Valley — one of the top-ranked Class 1A teams in the state — will have its first true test of this season on the road at King’s.
The Knights have reached the 1A state tournament in each of the last two seasons and made it to the semifinals in 2021–22. Nooksack Valley was in the state semifinals last season. This contest will feature two of the most successful, high-powered 1A teams in the state in recent memory.
With both teams’ potent offenses, it will come down to which defense can get more stops. That, or it will simply be a shootout that is decided late in the fourth quarter.
Toppenish at Mount Baker
6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Mount Baker High School
Mount Baker record: 0-2
Mount Baker last week’s result: Lost to Wenatchee, 29-14
Toppenish record: 0-2
Toppenish last week’s result: Lost to Washougal, 37-8
Final prediction: 24-17, Mount Baker
Mount Baker is off to a shaky beginning to its 2023–24 season after reaching the 1A state championship a year ago. What some may forget is last year's Mountaineers team started out 3-4 before winning six straight games and earning its 10th consecutive state bid.
Can that magic from last year be replicated with this year’s group?
This week will be a good barometer against a Toppenish team that has also struggled after consecutive state berths the last two seasons.
Bellevue Christian at Lynden Christian
2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, Lynden Christian High School
Lynden Christian record: 1-1
Lynden Christian last week’s result: Beat Archbishop Murphy, 31-7
Bellevue Christian record: 0-2
Bellevue Christian last week’s result: Lost to Cedar Park Christian, 45-0
Final prediction: 30-13, Lynden Christian
Lynden Christian's Dawson Bouma rumbles in for a 63-yard touchdown reception Oct. 7, 2022, during a game against Nooksack Valley. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
Lynden Christian got back on track last week after a difficult, hard-fought loss to Lakeside of Nine Mile Falls in its season opener. The Lyncs crushed a rising Archbishop Murphy squad for its first win of the season which, momentum-wise, should bode well for LC in this contest.
Junior running back Hollis Owen has broke out for the Lyncs, rushing for 119 yards and three touchdowns in the week two win, according to Whatcom Preps. If Owen maintains that production, LC’s run game will be difficult for Bellevue Christian to handle.
King’s Way Christian at Meridian
5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, Meridian High School
Meridian record: 1-1
Meridian last week’s result: Lost to Chelan, 21-20
King’s Way Christian record: 0-2
King’s Way Christian last week’s result: Lost to Hudson’s Bay, 53-13
Final prediction: 17-9, Meridian
Meridian’s close loss last week surely left a bad taste in the Trojans’ mouths, but a matchup with King’s Way Christian offers a golden opportunity for them to get back on track.
The Trojans’ young, developing core of players has faced adversity before. Offensively, everything runs through junior quarterback Jaeger Fyfe, who could be poised for a big day in this home contest for Meridian.
Bellingham at Granite Falls
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Granite Falls High School
Bellingham record: 0-2
Bellingham last week’s result: Lost to Meadowdale, 34-28
Granite Falls record: 1-1
Granite Falls last week’s result: Beat Friday Harbor, 34-13
Final prediction: 17-14, Bellingham
To this point in the season, this is the most winnable game on Bellingham’s schedule. The Bayhawks have had two frustrating losses thus far, each by six points or less.
Granite Falls, coming off a big win over Class 2B Friday Harbor, could come in overconfident and open the door for Bellingham to capitalize. Look for the Bayhawks to get in the win column this week.
Vashon Island at Blaine
7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, Blaine High School
Blaine record: 0-2
Blaine last week’s result: Lost to Sehome, 44-6
Vashon Island record: 0-2
Vashon Island last week’s result: Lost to Sultan, 40-0
Final prediction: 19-13, Blaine
Like Bellingham, this appears to be the fated week that Blaine picks up its first win of the season.
The Borderites were beaten up by a possible state title contender last week in Sehome, which lends itself to improvement and experience going forward. First-year coach Andy Olson seems to have his Blaine team with the right mindset, which will pay off this week against Vashon Island.
Football standings — Sept. 11
3A Wesco North
2A Northwest Conference
1A Northwest Conference
This story was updated at 12:50 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12 to include local football standings after week two.