Know Thy Opponent: Nooksack

In case you haven’t heard, the few-but-Mighty Trohahns play host to unbeaten Nooksack tonight. Apparently, it’s kinda a big deal.

Though unbeaten and ranked in the top 3, many say that Nooksack hasn’t really been challenged or tested yet. Aside from the highly-touted Week 2 matchup with opposing 1A power Coupeville, Nooksack has been just trying to get their reps in against overmatched opposition. And that shouldn’t be a surprise, as this the conundrum that dominant teams face: How to get quality looks while being just so danged good.

The Pioneers are led by Casey Bauman, but again, this is nothing new. The D1-bound, howitzer-armed QB might be the most famous person in the county this fall and is odds-on favorite for Athlete of the Year.

Nooksack Valley passing tree

With the outcome virtually certain, the question is whether our Trojans can provide the Pioneers any kind of preparation for the Road to Tacoma ahead, despite NV’s athletic advantage at every position.

  1. Meridian’s kickoff return team must show some innovation to simulate Royal’s intricate return game.
  2. Because Connell has an Australian exchange student punting this season, we owe the Pioneers some similar punt-on-the-run reps tonight, at least on our last 6 or 7 punts of the game.
  3. Montesano’s best athlete plays from their defensive right on PAT block. Expect to see Meridian line up 6 to 11 players in that position tonight. Getting 10 looks at this in a semi-live game scenario is crucial preparation, because every PAT counts in the playoffs.

 

The Herald previews tonight’s scrimmage thusly:

Nooksack Valley at Meridian

Time: 7 p.m. Friday

Site: Meridian High School

Pioneers (4-0, 1-0 1A NWC) update: No. 3 Nooksack Valley beat Mount Baker 26-14 in its 1A NWC opener Friday. Casey Bauman passed for 249 yards and two scores and rushed for 42 yards and two more touchdowns. Austin O’Bryan rushed for 109 yards on 19 carries – his second triple-digit night of the year – while Jordan Veening caught seven passes for 115 yards and a TD.

Trojans (4-0, 1-0 1A NWC) update: No. 5 Meridian got its 1A NWC season off to a good start with a 28-7 win at Lynden Christian Friday. Simon Burkett led the way, passing for 294 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 56 yards and another score. His top target was Bryce VandenHaak, who caught four passes for 78 yards and a TD, while Dawson Logan snared two passes for 57 yards and a TD.

Key to the game: Most fans will keep an eye on the quarterback battle between Bauman, who has committed to Montana State, and Burkett, who committed to Eastern Washington, but each side has a number of other players who could play a crucial role in the outcome.

Player to watch: After rushing for 765 yards and 11 TDs as a junior, Meridian’s Tony Schleimer doesn’t have a carry this year. He’s still making his mark, though, with 13 catches for 196 yards and three touchdowns and is a leader on defense.

 

No radio for this one tonight, and a large crowd is expected to see just what a ranked, 4-0 Nooksack team looks like. Kickoff is 7PM in Lovely Downtown Laurel. Go Trojans.

 

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