Another exciting season of Washington state high school football wrapped up the weekend of December 2 and 3, with state titlists crowned in all classes.

Whatcom County teams were well-represented during the state tournament that began November 11, with four — Lynden, Nooksack Valley, Ferndale and Mount Baker — undertaking championship runs that had vastly different outcomes.

Here’s a brief summary of how each fared: 

Ferndale Golden Eagles

The Golden Eagles finished atop the WIAA’s 3A Wesco North League standings with an undefeated league record of 6-0, and an overall record of 6-2. 

The team officially reached the State 3A Tournament on November 4, with a 35-14 dismantling of the Seattle Prep Panthers at Civic Stadium.

Photo credit: David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

Opening tournament play as the No. 7 seed, Ferndale scored 30 unanswered points against No. 10-ranked Kelso High School on November 11 at Civic, handily defeating the Hilanders 44-14.

Although the Golden Eagles reached quarterfinals for the first time since 2017, they found a much tougher opponent in the No. 2-seeded Eastside Catholic Crusaders. Playing at Seattle Memorial Stadium on November 19, Ferndale was outscored 21-6 in the game’s second half to lose by a final score of 35-18.

The Golden Eagles finished their season with a 9-3 overall record.

Lynden Lions

Showing their 2021 title was no fluke, the Lynden Lions captured their second-straight 2A state title on December 3, beating the North Kitsap Vikings 31-24 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Photo credit: David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

The Lions finished the regular season undefeated at 9-0, and atop the WIAA Northwest League 2A standings at 7-0. Entering the state tournament with the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage at Civic, Lynden dominated its early opponents.

The team crushed the Black Hills Wolves 54-7 in the opening round, and eliminated the Highline Pirates 42-13 in the quarterfinals. The Lions beat the No.4-ranked Enumclaw Hornets in the semi-finals to meet North Kitsap for the state championship.

Photo credit: David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

The two teams were tied at 24 until the game’s final minute, when quarterback Brant Heppner’s 1-yard touchdown run put the team ahead, giving Lynden its 10th state title overall and completing a perfect 13-0 season.

The Lions have not lost a football game since September 10, 2021 — a streak of 24 straight wins.  

Nooksack Valley Pioneers

The Pioneers made an impressive run through the State 1A playoffs, making it all the way to the semifinals.

The team began their season with five straight wins before ultimately finishing with a 7-2 overall record. Ranked third in the 1A Northwest League standings behind Mount Baker and Lynden Christian, respectively, the latter team was knocked from the playoffs in a Kansas City tiebreaker despite an 8-1 record. 

Photo credit: David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

Nooksack entered the state tournament as the No. 3 seed and beat the No. 14-seeded Riverside Rams, 37-13. In the quarterfinals, the team dispatched the No. 11 Cashmere Bulldogs by a final score of 34-24.

That set up an all-Whatcom County semifinal matchup against the Mount Baker Mountaineers on November 26 at Civic. A defensive battle led to a low-scoring affair, with Mount Baker emerging victorious by a final score of 14-13 after blocking the Pioneers’ attempt at a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

Nooksack Valley finished their season 9-3 overall.

Mount Baker Mountaineers

In one of the more improbable title runs in recent memory, the Mount Baker Mountaineers emerged from the No. 10 seed in the State 1A playoffs to almost win it all.

The team began their season at 1-2, and found themselves 3-4 by mid-October. The Mountaineers reeled off three straight league wins to finish atop the 1A Northwest standings at 4-1, despite an overall record of 6-4.

Photo credit: David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

The team knocked Lynden Christian from the state tournament with a 6-0 win over Nooksack Valley on November 3, and began their title hunt on the road against the Tenino Beavers the following weekend. Winning 37-26, Mount Baker moved on to the No. 2-seeded Lakeside Eagles — an undefeated team that had won all but one game by double-digit margins.

The Mountaineers defeated the Eagles, 35-20, just outside of Spokane, earning them a date at Civic Stadium with county rival Nooksack Valley. Emerging the winner there by a single point, the Mountaineers moved on to their first state title game since 2013.

The team would face the No. 1-seeded Royal Knights on December 3 at Lakewood’s Harry E. Lang Stadium, and despite a valiant effort that kept the score close into the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers ultimately lost 35-20.

While Royal clinched its third-consecutive state title and sixth in the last seven postseason tournaments, the Mountaineers ended their stellar comeback campaign at 9-5 overall.

Featured photo by Randy Small Photography;
all other photos by David Willoughby for VNNPhotos.com

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