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Oct. 10, 2004

Thomas is thrice as nice in Blazer homecoming win

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor

Rushing had been a staple of Blair’s offense through the first five games of the 2004 season. However, as effective as it was, the team could never seem to push its way into the end zone on the end of drives, leading to an 0-5 record and just four TDs all year. But Friday, Oct. 8, they finally could score, and the Blazers finally won.

D’Andre Thomas scored three touchdowns, and Ross Williams added a beautiful 80 yard pass completion to Michael Stewart as the Blazers knocked off the Wheaton Knights at this year’s Homecoming game, 24-22.

The game began with a lightning-quick first quarter. After Williams, tonight’s starter at quarterback for Blair (1-5), threw an interception on the first drive, things looked like they had been during the last five games. However, Williams redeemed himself late in the first quarter, throwing a perfect spiral down the right sideline to Michael Stewart.

Stewart was chased down and tackled by a Knights player at the Wheaton 5 yard line, but not until he had picked up 80 yards on the play, the longest play this year for the Blazers. D’ Andre Thomas had a two-yard touchdown run three plays later, and Blair took a 6-0 early second quarter lead after missing the two point conversion try.

On the ensuing kickoff, however, Wheaton (3-3) silenced the raucous Blazer crowd. Theo Bampoe-Darko returned the kickoff 85 yards for a Knights touchdown. It was the first time all year Blair had allowed either a kickoff or punt return for a TD. In an interesting twist, Darko was also the kicker for the Knights, and booted the PAT through the uprights to account for all seven Wheaton points in their 7-6 lead.

The second quarter would account for 25 points in the game, 18 by the Blazers, all on rushing touchdowns. Just two minutes after his first touchdown, Thomas, a senior, ran into the end zone for a touchdown that made it 12-7 Blair. Following a Wheaton fumble that was recovered by Blair, Michael Wright had a beautiful 12-yard touchdown run just two minutes after that, and in a span of four minutes, 25 points had been scored.

Wheaton refused to fade away, and came close to playing homecoming spoilers. On fourth-and-goal late in the third quarter, Knights quarterback Ricky Adams had his throw into the end zone deflected, but it was caught in the back of the end zone by Wheaton receiver Lamar Higkton for a touchdown.

Wheaton would convert on the two point conversion, an Adams keeper, which made the score 18-15 Blair.

But in the fourth, the Blazers would put the game out of reach. Thomas scored his third touchdown of the night, making it 24-18 Blair, a seven-yard run that involved a couple outstanding broken tackles.

Blazer head coach Jeffrey Seals opted for the two-point conversion after all four touchdowns, going zero for four on those tries. He said he kept trying to even the score. “I went for two the first time because I was unsure about our kicking game," he stated, “and then after that first one didn’t work, I just kept doing it to try to get to 14, and then to 21 and then so on. Thankfully it didn’t cost us the game and we won."

But Wheaton made it close. With 2:04 left, Higkton had a seven-yard rushing touchdown that made it 24-22. But after Blair recovered the onside kick by Bampoe-Darko, they ran out the clock and Blair’s first win was in the books. It was Seals’ first win as a head coach, and he was excited for himself, and the players.

“It just is so satisfying. These kids have come in and worked their butts off all year long, and I hope they enjoy it," Seals said with a smile, clearly happy to have broken the losing skid. The Blazers were the last team in the 4 A division to win a game this year.

Thomas had a huge night rushing the ball. Along with the three touchdowns, he ran 18 times for 98 yards, with one fumble, that was recovered by the Blazers. Michael Wright also came up very big, rushing 10 times for 105 yards, an incredible 10.5 yards per carry. This total was aided by two runs of 28 and 20 yards.

Williams started at quarterback, and played well, going 3-4 for 93 yards, most of which were gained on the huge 80-yard pass to Stewart in the first quarter. He and Aaron Simon played nearly the same amount of time, but Simon threw just one pass, a completion to Thomas for 13 yards. It appears as if Simon is being used much more often as the QB who hands it off, while Williams will be used in passing situations.

Even though the Blazers can celebrate and enjoy homecoming weekend even more, the schedule gets harder again, with Blair facing off against 5-1 Quince Orchard, who was handed its first loss of the year Friday against Damascus. That loss dropped them out of the Washington Post top 20 poll.

NOTES: The Knights were anchored on their rushing attack by a sophomore, Marcus Putney. Putney ran 17 times for 70 yards and a touchdown…Kingsley Packie actually started at quarterback for Wheaton, but was pulled after he fumbled in the second quarter in favor of Adams…Blair did not turn the ball over the entire game…the Blazers still have not even attempted a field goal the entire season, despite working on it often in practice in recent weeks…Blair is 0-1 this year against ranked teams, losing at Damascus.

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  • YaBlazers! on October 10, 2004
    woohoo! First win! IT's about time.
  • Isamu Bae on October 11, 2004
    "I went for two the first time because I was unsure about our kicking game," he stated, "and then after that first one didn't work, I just kept doing it to try to get to 14, and then to 21 and then so on. Thankfully it didn't cost us the game and we won."

    Hahah, sounds like my friend who will not be named playing Madden.
  • Senior '05 on October 11, 2004
    nice to win for homecomming :-D. but genius who wrote this... their next game is thursday not friday. we're off on friday! get it right man or get someone who will get it right the first time to do it.
  • um on October 12, 2004
    what grades are all the mentioned players in?
  • Erik Kojola (View Email) on October 12, 2004
    Yes, the football game this week is at Quince Orchard on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. However, other spors teams like boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball and field hockey still have games on Friday even though we do not have school.
  • concerned blazer on October 12, 2004
    whats #24's name? hes on varsity and hes really cute...
  • concerned alumni on October 14, 2004
    Where's Aaron Simon? We want the Big Slo!
  • BEAN on October 14, 2004
  • tsao on October 14, 2004
    denis. why you wearing my new gloves?! and why you only wearing one of them?!
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