Bellingham has some great high school football. To get the lay of the land, we spoke with Tyler Anderson who runs History of Whatcom County High School Football Facebook page.
Catch us up on the 2015 season. Who’s rising, who’s falling? Which Whatcom County team has the best shot at a State title?
2015 has been another awesome season, with great teams and players. The Squalicum Storm are on a definite rise, and I believe the have the best shot at a State title. I wouldn’t say that the Mount Baker Mountaineers are necessarily rising, but only because they’ve been on top of the 1A scene for a while. They also have the ability to make some noise in the state tournament. I’m excited to see what the future brings for Bellingham, Nooksack Valley, Ferndale, Meridian and Blaine. Each school will have its starting quarterback returning next year, and should improve. The Sehome Mariners have been falling lately, but they should be alright. They have a good talent pool to play with.
Is there a distinctive Whatcom County style of play?
I would say that there are a few. Teams like Ferndale and Mount Baker like to run right over you. Nooksack Valley has no problem passing on almost every play. Lynden and Squalicum are very good at spreading the field, but they will run it more than you’d think. Teams like Meridian and Blaine are very balanced, and can hurt you just as bad on the ground as they can through the air.
Other than Jake Locker, who are the most noteworthy alumni of Whatcom County high school football?
There have actually been quite a few. Don Steinbrunner graduated from Mount Baker in 1949 and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 6th round of the 1953 draft. His career ended after only eight games because of a knee injury. He then joined the Air Force where he served for 13 years before being shot down in Vietnam in 1967. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.
Doug Pederson graduated from Ferndale in 1986, and he went on to play quarterback in the NFL for 12 years. He is currently the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Doug Ericksen played quarterback, defensive back and punter for Sehome, and he excelled at all positions. In 2011 he became a member of the Washington State Senate from the 42nd district. Other former players that played in the NFL are Brant Bengen and Steve Alvord (Bellingham), Cody Boyd and Michael Koenen (Ferndale) and Tom Ackerman (Nooksack Valley).
The 1999 Meridian team that went undefeated and won the state championship, is that the greatest Whatcom County team ever?
That Meridian team is up there, maybe in the top three. I would put the 2005 Ferndale team and 2012 Lynden team ahead of them. I would give the edge to the ’05 Golden Eagles, though.
What’s the most storied rivalry in Whatcom County, and what makes it unique?
It would have to be the Lynden/Ferndale rivalry. What makes it unique is that most years they are the two most talented teams. Even if one of the teams has a down year, it’s still a great game. Ferndale had only three wins last year (it’s lowest win total since 1993), but one of them was against Lynden.