Lobos football learns flexibility on the fly

The Lobo football program, hampered this season by limited numbers of team members, was able to play the last two games on their season roster against Crescent Oct. 30 and Lummi yesterday, Nov. 5. And for a team that hasn’t seen much playing time and whose roster is heavy with freshmen, they played with heart and real skill.

“The amazing thing is that we had two seniors, one sophomore with some experience, and five freshmen who had never played in their lives before,” Coach Larry Berg said, “competing against one of the top teams in the state.”

The Lobos lost against the Lummi Blackhawks yesterday 38-64, but what a game it was. The teams played in high November winds with rain pelting down sporadically. Fumbles abounded and passes thrown against the wind dropped in front of frustrated receivers.

And the Lobos, inside their own ranks, spent the first 20 minutes of the first quarter trying to adjust to players in brand new positions for the first time. Quarterback for the Lobos Colton Jardine suffered an injury at the game against Crescent last week and had to sit out the game against Lummi. His brother Keldon Jardine was supposed to step into the quarterback position but lost his game eligibility due to disciplinary action. Tucker Hoffman, senior, had to step in at the last minute to cover as quarterback for the Lobos. This changed up everyone on the Lobo roster, but the team kept their focus and made the adjustments.

The Lummi team, second in their division this year, came out and took advantage of the Lobos’ preliminary confusion, scoring two touchdowns as the freshmen on the Lobo defense tried to make their assignments and missed. By half time the Lobos were down 30-6, but by the fourth quarter, thanks to stunning runs by Leland Nopson, Tucker Hoffman, and Tommy Kramer, the Lobos had picked up yardage and points.

Total Lobo yardage against Lummi was 501 yards, all rushing. Tommy Kramer had 16 carries for 229 yards, and two TD’s while Hoffman had 22 carries for 144 yards and three TD’s.

“We had 128 return yards and Leland Nopson had a 55 yard TD run on a kick off return. That was a beautiful run,” Berg commented.

The Neah Bay team and the Lummi Blackhawks will most likely play for the semis or the state championship this year.

And while the Lobos lost against Crescent last week 84-68, the Lobos still rushed for a whopping 942 yards of total offense. With only nine young men playing offense and defense with no one to spell them, this is a lesson in heart and determination. And the Lobos have both in abundance.

“We were down 22-0 in the first quarter, but we came back, leading 60-57 in the fourth quarter,” Berg said. “We lost 84-68 mostly because we only have nine guys, playing offense and defense, and we just plain ran out of steam.”