The Archbishop Murphy and Lynden football teams have squared off six times in the last decade, including four clashes in the final two rounds of the Class 2A state playoffs.
The perennial state powerhouses are set to collide again Friday night, but this time as league rivals.
Third-ranked Lynden hosts the fifth-ranked Wildcats in the conference opener for both teams in the newly formed Northwest 2A Sky Division.
“Usually when you’re playing Lynden, it’s deep in the playoffs,” Archbishop Murphy coach Jerry Jensen said. “Lynden is a great program and it should be just a really fun atmosphere.”
The teams met twice — once in the regular season and once in the state playoffs — in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Wildcats opened both years with a non-league win over Lynden, but the Lions gained revenge both times with a semifinal victory over Archbishop Murphy on their way to back-to-back state championships.
The teams squared off again in the 2011 state title game, which Lynden won 17-16 after taking an intentional safety, recovering the ensuing onside kick and driving downfield for the winning touchdown. It marked the third time in four years that the Lions had ended Archbishop Murphy’s championship dreams.
The Wildcats returned the favor in 2016, routing Lynden 52-14 in the state semifinals en route to their first-ever 2A state title.
A state championship won’t be on the line this time, but Friday night’s 2A top-five showdown likely carries massive conference-title implications.
“They’re going to play good football,” Jensen said, “and we’ve got to go out and try to do the same.”
No. 5 ARCHBISHOP MURPHY at No. 3 LYNDEN
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Lynden H.S.
Archbishop Murphy: 1-1; last week’s game at Rainier Beach was cancelled
Lynden: 3-0; beat Lord Tweedsmuir (B.C.) 23-0 last week
Outlook: After allowing just four yards of total offense in a season-opening win over Eatonville, Archbishop Murphy’s defense surrendered 575 total yards in a Week 2 blowout loss to 2A top-ranked Hockinson. The Wildcats had another tough non-league matchup scheduled last week against 3A fourth-ranked Rainier Beach, but the game was cancelled after Archbishop Murphy High School was closed Friday because of a potential threat. Lynden is coming off a pair of dominant defensive performances after rolling to 30-6 win over Ferndale in Week 2 and a shutout of Lord Tweedsmuir (B.C.) last week. In the victory over rival Ferndale, the Lions’ defense yielded just 134 total yards and held the Golden Eagles scoreless until late in the fourth quarter.
Herald pick: Lynden
MONROE at MARINER
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Goddard Stadium (Mariner H.S.)
Radio: KRKO 1380 AM
Monroe: 0-3 overall, 0-1 Wesco 4A; lost to Lake Stevens 49-31 last week
Mariner: 1-2 overall, 1-0 Wesco 4A; beat Kamiak 40-13 last week
Outlook: After graduating numerous key players from last year’s state-quarterfinal team, Monroe took its lumps with losses to Eastlake, seventh-ranked Woodinville and fifth-ranked Lake Stevens during a challenging three-game opening stretch. The Bearcats’ offense showed promise last week, totaling 468 yards against a tough Lake Stevens defense. Junior all-purpose standout Efton Chism III has starred for Monroe with 275 yards receiving and four touchdowns, as well as three interceptions and a kickoff return for a score. Mariner is coming off a blowout victory over rival Kamiak that was suspended early in the fourth quarter after gunshots were fired outside Goddard Stadium. Monroe has beaten Mariner five straight times, including a 51-13 rout last year.
Herald pick: Monroe
FERNDALE at ARLINGTON
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Arlington H.S.
Ferndale: 1-2 overall, 1-0 Wesco 3A North; beat Marysville Getchell 28-16 last week
Arlington: 2-1 overall, 1-1 Wesco 3A North; beat Stanwood 21-13 last week
Outlook: Arlington bounced back from a Week 2 loss to Squalicum by beating archrival Stanwood last week for its ninth consecutive Stilly Cup win. The Eagles are led by senior quarterback Anthony Whitis, who has completed 64 percent of his passes for 770 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Ferndale won the Wesco 3A North last season and reached the state quarterfinals, but graduated numerous key players from last year’s 11-1 team. The Golden Eagles opened this season with blowout losses to 4A fifth-ranked Lake Stevens and 2A third-ranked Lynden before beating Marysville Getchell in last week’s conference opener. Ferndale routed Arlington by a combined 82-13 margin the past two years, but the Golden Eagles’ offense has struggled in their first three games this season, averaging just 227 yards per contest.
Herald pick: Arlington
SNOHOMISH at EVERETT
When: 5 p.m. Friday
Where: Everett Memorial Stadium
Snohomish: 1-2 overall, 1-0 Wesco 3A South; beat Shorewood 49-21 last week
Everett: 1-2 overall, 1-1 Wesco 3A South; lost to Shorecrest 27-21 last week
Outlook: After a season-opening blowout loss to Marysville Pilchuck, Snohomish hung tight in a Week 2 defeat to Wesco 4A contender Glacier Peak and earned a 28-point win over Shorewood last week. Panthers senior running back Tyler Massena has rushed for 368 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 10.2 yards per carry for a Snohomish offense that’s scoring 35 points per game. Massena also has a pair of touchdown receptions and returned a kickoff for a score. Everett, which averaged just 200 total yards in losses to Cascade and Shorecrest, looks to get its offense going against a Panthers defense that’s surrendered 37.7 points per game. Everett and Snohomish have split their last two meetings since the Panthers dropped to 3A in 2016, with the Seagulls winning 38-14 last year.
Herald pick: Snohomish
LAKEWOOD at SEDRO-WOOLLEY
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Sedro-Woolley H.S.
Lakewood: 3-0; beat Evergreen 46-3 last week
Sedro-Woolley: 1-2; lost to Oak Harbor 40-7 last week
Outlook: Lakewood outscored its first three opponents by 29 points per game while rolling to wins over King’s, Bellingham and Evergreen. Junior dual-threat quarterback Jared Taylor leads the Cougars’ offense, passing for 501 yards and seven touchdowns and also rushing for 241 yards and four scores. The competition level ramps up with this Northwest 2A Sky Division opener against Sedro-Woolley, which routed Lakewood 41-0 last season. That was the only league loss last year for the Cougars, who finished in a three-way tie with Sedro-Woolley and Burlington-Edison for the Northwest Conference 2A crown. Sedro-Woolley’s offense has struggled in its first three games against 1A eighth-ranked Meridian, Mount Vernon and Oak Harbor, averaging just 15.3 points and 230 yards per contest.
Herald pick: Sedro-Woolley