EDMONDS — In a battle of Northwest 2A Lake Division unbeatens, it was the Bellingham Red Raiders’ run game that proved to be the difference.
Bellingham rushed for 298 yards, including two running backs who broke the 100-yard barrier, as the Red Raiders defeated the Mountlake Terrace Hawks 17-7 Friday night at Edmonds Stadium.
Bellingham (4-0 league, 5-2 overall), playing primarily out of a full-house formation with three players lined up in the backfield, used a combination of power running up the gut and speed runners off tackle to control most of the game. The Red Raiders ended up outgaining the Hawks 353-186.
Mountlake Terrace (3-1, 4-3) kept itself in the contest thanks to its defense, which forced three Bellingham fumbles. The last of those fumbles, which happened midway through the fourth quarter, set up the Hawks’ 28-yard touchdown pass from Jesse James Martineau to Brandon Bach. That cut Bellingham’s lead to 10-7 with 6 minutes, 2 seconds remaining and gave Mountlake Terrace hope of a dramatic comeback.
However, the Red Raiders went back to their run game, and an 11-play, 59-yard, 4:52 drive was finished off by Jack Fields’ 7-yard touchdown run that effectively ended the game.
There’s a good chance this is the result that determines the Northwest 2A Lake Division championship. With the victory Bellingham clinched at least a share of the league title.
Mountlake Terrace, which has never won a football league title since the school opened in 1960, isn’t out of it yet. There’s still a chance at a three-way tie for first between Bellingham, Mountlake Terrace and Sehome, depending on next week’s results.
It occurred early, but the game’s biggest sequence may have happened on the game’s first drive. Mountlake Terrace surprised Bellingham with an onside kick to start the game and recovered. The Hawks then marched down to the Red Raiders’ 4-yard line. But with three chances of getting 1 yard for a first down, Bellingham’s defense held. The Red Raiders then marched 94 yards the other direction, ending with Isiah Harrington’s 7-yard touchdown run. The momentum swing set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Jack Fields, Bellingham. He was the power runner in the Red Raiders’ backfield, gaining 124 yards on 24 carries and scoring a touchdown.
Isiah Harrington, Bellingham. He was the speed runner for the Red Raiders, finishing with 112 yards on 14 carries and a score.
Brandon Bach, Mountlake Terrace. He gained 119 all-purpose yards — six catches for 94 yards, five carries for 25 yards — and scored the Hawks’ only TD.
Mountlake Terrace finishes the regular season next week with a game at Cedarcrest.
Bellingham has a crucial home game against Sehome. If Bellingham wins the Red Raiders claim the league title. If Sehome and Mountlake Terrace both win, there’s a chance for a three-way tie for first, with all three teams 1-1 against one another.