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Reigning Class 2A champion Lynden shuts door on Anacortes for Northwest Conference title

Top-ranked Lions hand No. 4 Seahawks first loss to put a bow on undefeated regular season

ANACORTES, Wash. - It didn't take long for fourth-ranked Anacortes to strike in a big 2A Northwest Conference showdown with No. 1 Lynden.

The Seahawks went right down the field and scored on their first drive.

And it took a split-second for Lynden players to go right to their coach on the sideline with a message.

"The kids told me, 'Yeah, they're not scoring (again),'" VanDalen said.

The Seahawks' only other score of the game came on an interception return and the Lynden defense held up its end of the bargain in a league championship-clinching 23-13 win Friday night over Anacortes.

Lynden trailed 13-7 at halftime following the pick-6 by Anacortes defensive back Hayden John.

The Lions haven't trailed much this season, but even then, they weren't going to feel down and out only down by one score.

Following the second-half kickoff, the Lions marched down the field for a drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from Lane Heeringa. Kicker Troy Petz put back the point-after and Lynden took a 14-13 lead.

"We had a great week of practice. The kids trusted the process and believed in the game plan," VanDalen said. "That's a team that averages 43 points a game? Our defense only allowed seven."

Lynden tacked on to its lead late in the third quarter on a 2-yard quarterback keeper from Kaedan Hermanutz.

The Lions had all the momentum, but Anacortes still had a chance only down seven points.

Anacortes' best opportunity late in the game was squandered by Petz, who jumped in front of a pass in the red zone to give the Lions the ball back with time winding down.

Lynden, who hadn't thrown a pass the entire second half, stuck to that game plan to get in field goal range to put the game away.

After a weird sequence of penalties that saw Petz kick three different times, he put back a 25-yarder for a 23-13 lead.

Being able to limit an offense as explosive as Anacortes was no small task and the Lions coaching staff knew it.

"It blew our minds watching film," VanDalen said of the Seahawks' offense. "It was going to be hard. When they did take a shot, we had two picks."

Anacortes coach Justin Portz said not being able to cash in on their chances in the red zone was crucial.

"We had our opportunities, but against a team like Lynden you have to capitalize," Portz said. "The spin on this really is it's not the last game of the season for us. This really is going to be good for our program. It would've been great to win and would've meant a lot to us, but this is going to help us going into the first round of the playoffs."