1981 Game #8: Â Meridian 14, Nooksack 0 (#2)
From The Bellingham Herald, Saturday, October 31, 1981
Terry M. Sell
Martinson, Cox key Trojan win
One thing is certain in football competition involving the Meridian Trojans: Â They will run with the ball. Â Not much razzle or dazzle; no surprises.
But the Trojans run so often because they do it very well, which the Nooksack Pioneers discovered Friday night in a 14-0 Trojan victory.
The victory, which broke a two-game losing slide for Meridian, puts the Trojans alone in third place in Whatcom County League play, with the playoffs waiting just beyond a date with second-place Mount Baker next Friday night in Deming.
Meridian earned that chance behind an elastic defense and the running of Duffy Cox and Brian Martinson, who filled in spectacularly for injured star running back Mark Stieber.
While Stieber stayed on the sidelines with a strained knee (he may be out for the year), Martinson rolled up 119 yards on 22 carries, including a touchdown in the final second of play, and also kicked both Meridian extra points.
Cox shined in the Nooksack mud, gaining 145 yards on 21 carries, including a 60-yard touchdown ramble in the first quarter.
Martinson said he was scared at first over the prospect of taking Stieber’s valuable place. Â “But the line was just pushing everybody out of the way,” he said.
“The offensive line was superb,” Meridian coach Bob Ames added. Â Ames said the Trojan trench troop had performed well in losses to Lynden and Lynden Christian, and “They finally had the game they deserved.”
“Our execution wasn’t very good tonight,” Â Nooksack Valley Coach Birger Solberg lamented. Â “We had some opportunities we didn’t take advantage of.”
The Trojans got the only points they needed on their second possession of the first period. Â After quarterback Bob Tutterrow got his squad a first down at the Meridian 40 with a wobbly seven-yard pass to Randy Manthey, Cox took a handoff up the middle, broke a tackle, and outraced the Pioneer secondary to the end zone with 5:34 left in the quarter.
From then until Meridian’s final drive, both clubs sputtered offensively, hampered by mistakes, penalties and a very muddy field.
The Pioneers drove to the Trojan 11 early in the second quarter before fizzling, and again to the Meridian 26 in the third.
Two penalties for 20 yards killed that drive, and Dave Zapien’s ensuing punt just eluded the Pioneers’ coverage before rolling into the end zone.
Zapien, Nooksack Valley’s strong-armed quarterback, had open receivers deep in Meridian territory several times during the game, but consistently overthrew them.
With Cox and Martinson carrying all but once in the drive, the Trojans erased the clock three and four yards at a time, grinding down the field until Martinson smashed over from the one with one second left in the game.
“That’s the best ball game I think he’s played,” Ames said of Martinson.
Passing: Â 4-5, 46 yards
Rushing: Â 6 yards
Punting: Â 3-81
Rushing: Â 21-145, 1 td
Rushing: Â 22-119, 1 td
Kick-off Returns: Â 1-16
Kicking: Â 2 PATs