Football forecast: A Royal rematch is coming to Lynden

Week 4 features packed 10-game slate; no inter-county contests
September 18, 2023 at 5:44 p.m.
Updated September 19, 2023 at 4:25 p.m.
Lynden Christian’s Jeremiah Wright avoids a tackle and gets into the end zone for a touchdown Oct. 7, 2022, during a game against Nooksack Valley. The Lyncs (2-1) will host Royal (3-0) for a battle of two top-ranked Class 1A teams at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.
Lynden Christian’s Jeremiah Wright avoids a tackle and gets into the end zone for a touchdown Oct. 7, 2022, during a game against Nooksack Valley. The Lyncs (2-1) will host Royal (3-0) for a battle of two top-ranked Class 1A teams at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

The high school football season's fourth week features must-win league games, needed bounce-back victories and a few programs looking to build on short win streaks.

Whatcom County teams went 5-4 last week, and this week’s 10-game slate will not feature a single game with two local teams playing one another.

Here’s what you should know about week four.

Game of the week: Royal at Lynden Christian

2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, Lynden Christian High School

Lynden Christian record: 2-1

Lynden Christian last week’s result: Beat Bellevue Christian, 63-6

Royal record: 3-0

Royal last week’s record: Beat Zillah, 48-7

Final prediction: 36-21, Royal

photo  Lynden Christian tight end and linebacker Kayden Stuit on Aug. 22. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Lynden Christian is coming off its largest margin of victory in a game since Feb. 26, 2021, when the Lyncs beat Bellingham 71-0. LC also beat Royal — which went on to win the 1A state championship for the 10th time since 2000 — on its home turf last season, handing the Knights their first home loss in 11 years.

Those signs point to the Lyncs putting up a fight in this game, and they should. But LC’s week-one loss to Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) remains a concern. Week one doesn’t mean anything, sure, but that was an opportunity for LC to make a season-opening statement against a team that reached the 1A state quarterfinals a season ago (and lost only eight seniors ahead of this year). 

Since that 14-8 loss to Lakeside on Sept. 1, LC has crushed two far weaker opponents in Archbishop Murphy and Bellevue Christian (combined score of 94-13), which doesn’t quite answer the question of the Lyncs’ state-wide Class 1A competitiveness after losing five starters on both sides of the ball at the end of last season.

This game against Royal will be the Lyncs’ second true test of the season. After failing the first, LC is sure to be heavily motivated in this contest.

Lynden Christian player to watch: RB/LB Hollis Owen, junior

Yes, senior Eastern Washington University commit Kayden Stuit is LC’s best player, but the Lyncs’ offense revolves around its running game, and Owen has 232 yards on the ground through three games, according to Whatcom Preps.

If Owen can replicate what he did against Archbishop Murphy and Bellevue Christian, LC will be very much in stride with Royal. If not, and the Lyncs are forced into passing situations, the Knights could run away with it.

Royal player to watch: QB/DB Lance Allred, junior

Allred made the switch from wide receiver to quarterback ahead of this season, according to Scorebook Live, and the dual-threat athlete beat up on Zillah last week to the tune of 53 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. The Knights’ offense has thrived under Allred, outscoring opponents 125-21 through three games.

Lynden at Sedro-Woolley

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Sedro-Woolley High School

Lynden record: 2-1 (1-0 NWC)

Lynden last week’s result: Beat Squalicum, 35-0

Sedro-Woolley record: 3-0 (1-0 NWC)

Sedro-Woolley last week’s record: Beat Sehome, 35-0

Final prediction: 28-27, Lynden

photo Lynden’s Isaiah Oudman (8) celebrates a late fourth-quarter touchdown on Sept. 1 with teammates Dani Bowler and Bradey Elsner during a game against Ferndale. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Sedro-Woolley has emerged as the team to beat in the 2A Northwest Conference. The Cubs have outscored opponents 118-10 through three games, and they will now welcome defending 2A state champion Lynden to their house.

Lynden has bounced back nicely since its week one loss to Ferndale, beating W.F. West and Squalicum (its last two opponents) by a combined score of 83-6. The Lions narrowly defeated Sedro-Woolley last season, 24-21, which was also a week four contest.

Both teams like to run the ball, so expect a physical game. Lynden has found its legs in the run game, piling up 242 rushing yards versus Squalicum, according to Whatcom Preps. The Cubs, however, produced a gaudy 399 yards on the ground in its shutout win over a good Sehome team.

Mount Baker at King’s

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, King’s High School

Mount Baker record: 1-2

Mount Baker last week’s result: Beat Toppenish, 13-7

King’s record: 3-0

King’s last week's result: Beat Nooksack Valley, 28-26

Final prediction: 35-19, King’s

The King’s Knights are for real, which was proven by their two-point win over Nooksack Valley — ranked among the top 1A programs in the state.

Mount Baker finally got in the win column last week after beginning the season 0-2 (against quality opponents) and the Mountaineers will have their hands full with the Knights. This will be the first meeting between these two teams since March 16, 2021 — a game Mount Baker won 56-35.

Ferndale at Arlington

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Arlington High School

Ferndale record: 3-0

Ferndale last week’s result: Beat Glacier Peak, 22-16

Arlington record: 3-0

Arlington last week’s result: Beat Mount Vernon, 52-14

Final prediction: 16-14, Ferndale

We now know Ferndale is legit. Despite scraping by two of their three opponents so far this season, the Golden Eagles are resilient which, if numerically trackable, would be a telling football statistic.

What is tangible is the two-headed monster Ferndale has in its backfield. Talan Bungard and Phoenyx Finkbonner have steamrolled each of the Golden Eagles’ opponents, most recently combining for 226 rushing yards in the Sept. 15 win over Glacier Peak.

Arlington will be another tough test and it will be both teams’ first league game of the season.

Hoquiam at Nooksack Valley

6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Nooksack Valley High School

Nooksack Valley record: 2-1

Nooksack Valley last week’s result: Lost to King’s, 28-26

Hoquiam record: 1-2

Hoquiam last week’s result: Lost to La Salle, 55-27

Final prediction: 57-10, Nooksack Valley

You have got to expect the Pioneers to be angry. Nooksack Valley, one of the top-ranked Class 1A teams in the state, lost by a hair to a very good King’s team for its first loss of the season on Sept. 15.

Losing a game against another highly-ranked opponent will hurt the Pioneers’ prospective state tournament seed down the road — unless they continue to beat up everyone else. That’s what should happen here.

Sehome at Burlington-Edison

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Burlington-Edison High School

Sehome record: 2-1 (0-1 NWC)

Sehome last week’s result: Lost to Sedro-Woolley, 35-0

Burlington-Edison record: 1-2 (1-0 NWC)

Burlington-Edison last week’s result: Beat Lakewood, 25-20

Final prediction: 44-13, Sehome

photo  Sehome's Coleby Chambers runs in for a 49-yard touchdown followed by teammate Andrew Watson Thursday, Sept. 7 during a game against Blaine. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Sehome is in a similar situation to Nooksack Valley, detailed above. The Mariners were dismantled by Sedro-Woolley in a shutout loss — the first time they have not scored in a game since Oct. 1, 2021 (27-0 loss to Squalicum).

A bounce-back win is needed if Sehome hopes to remain in the 2A state tournament race.

Archbishop Murphy at Squalicum

7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Civic Stadium

Squalicum record: 2-1 (0-1 NWC)

Squalicum last week’s result: Lost to Lynden, 35-0

Archbishop Murphy record: 1-2 (0-1 NWC)

Archbishop Murphy last week’s result: Lost to Anacortes, 45-0

Final prediction: 21-18, Squalicum

It’s not often two teams who both were shut out by 35 points or more the week prior go head to head. Squalicum had arguably the weakest non-league schedule of any 2A NWC team — hosting two teams from British Columbia — and still gave up 36 points to those visiting squads.

Archbishop Murphy, however, has only scored 21 points through three games, albeit against stronger opponents. This should be a close one, with the Storm holding a slight edge due to being at home.

Meridian at Nathan Hale

6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, Northeast Athletic Complex

Meridian record: 2-1

Meridian last week’s result: Beat King’s Way Christian, 35-12

Nathan Hale record: 0-3

Nathan Hale last week’s result: Lost to Ingraham, 28-14

Final prediction: 50-14, Meridian

photo  A King’s Way Christian defender tries to stop Meridian’s Landen Downey by grabbing his jersey Friday, Sept. 16 in the Trojans’ 35-12 win. Downey had two touchdowns in the victory. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Friday Harbor pulled out of its game versus the Trojans, so Meridian will now head to Nathan Hale in week four. 

Meridian has quietly had a steady three weeks to begin the season. The Trojans’ only loss was by one point to Chelan (3-0) on Friday, Sept. 8, and a road contest at Nathan Hale should be a dominant win if the Wolverines can’t contain running backs Josh Elmer and Landen Downey (four combined touchdowns in win over King’s Way Christian).

Blaine at Cedar Park Christian

7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23, Juanita High School

Blaine record: 1-2

Blaine last week’s result: Beat Vashon Island, 55-0

Cedar Park Christian record: 1-2

Cedar Park Christian last week’s result: Lost to Cedarcrest, 40-7

Final prediction: 31-20, Blaine

Blaine clobbered Vashon Island last week, claiming its largest margin of victory since 2008 and first shutout win since 2016 (48-0 win over Sehome). The Borderites should have another winnable game on the road this week at Cedar Park Christian.

South Whidbey at Bellingham

7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, Civic Stadium

Bellingham record: 0-3

Bellingham last week’s result: Lost to Granite Falls, 32-27

South Whidbey record: 2-1

South Whidbey last week’s result: Beat East Jefferson, 50-13

Final prediction: 34-29, South Whidbey

Bellingham has made a habit of losing close, high-scoring games in the early part of the season. Two of the Bayhawks’ three losses have been by a 32-27 final score, and they have been outscored by opponents 98-82 — a tiny margin in high school football. 

Football standings — Sept. 18

3A Wesco North

Mount Vernon0-11-2
Oak Harbor0-20-3

2A Northwest Conference

Archbishop Murphy0-11-2

1A Northwest Conference

Nooksack Valley
Lynden Christian0-02-1
Mount Baker0-00-2



This story was updated at 4:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 to reflect Meridian's updated matchup for the week. The Trojans will now play Nathan Hale instead of Friday Harbor.

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