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Nov. 6, 2004

Blazers blasted by Rockets in road loss

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor

It is one thing to make numerous errors against a weak team. But Blair found that their five turnovers dug too much of a hole for the Blazers to climb out of, and they ended their season with a disappointing 14-7 loss on Nov. 5. The win helped the Rockets clinch a playoff berth.

Blair (3-7) was in the game up until the end, despite two interceptions and three turnovers on downs. The Blazer offense was weak, shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes. They easily could have been blown out; however, Blair recovered four of their fumbles, and the Blazer defense was strong.

The Blazer D kept the team in the game until the final drive. The defense held Richard Montgomery a couple times inside their own 30-yard line and kept them from scoring. When Blair needed to get the ball back midway through the fourth quarter, the defense stopped RM on a fourth and about four inches. Five minutes later, they forced a punt, which gave Blair one last chance.

But the interceptions, both thrown by starting sophomore quarterback Tyrel Jackson, and the three turnovers on downs highlighted a struggling offense that lead to the defeat and the ire of Blair head coach Jeffrey Seals.

“We made too many mistakes tonight,” commented Seals, echoing a sentiment he’s made often during this losing season. “We couldn’t get the ball in [the end zone] when we were at their 10, and that was rough.”

Seals was referring to Blair’s drive at the end of the first half. Following a brilliant 68 yard run by senior Jason Maryman that showcased his tremendous speed, Blair had the ball at the RM 10 yard line, in prime position for a touchdown that would have cut the Rockets lead from 14 to seven. But quarterback Ross Williams, who shared QB duties with Jackson, was sacked on fourth down and the Blazers came away empty.

Blair’s only points came off a touchdown that was emblematic of the problems the Blazer running backs had at the end of the year holding on to the ball. Early in the fourth quarter, D’Andre Thomas ran for a first down, but fumbled the ball at the RM 10 yard line. After the ball rolled around for a while, it wound up in the end zone where Femi Elemoso dove on it for the improbable touchdown that cut the Blair deficit to 14-7 following the extra point.

The Richard Montgomery Rockets (7-3) won without throwing a single pass, instead relying on their run game to score. Ironically, the Rockets never scored off a Blair turnover. The offense was anchored by running back Kevon Calhoun, who ran for 60 yards on 15 carries and scored both RM touchdowns. Calhoun replaced Steven Weedon, the county’s leading rusher, who was not at the game tonight for a reason unknown at press time.

The Rockets scored all their points in the first half on this cold night, and made them stand up. Calhoun was used sparingly before halftime, but got the ball near the goal line twice, and capitalized, scoring both touchdowns, one in the first quarter, and one late in the second.

Junior Tyrell Jackson, who was called up halfway through the season from junior varsity, started his second game in a row at quarterback for Blair. Both he and Ross Williams split time under center tonight. Williams was 2-for-5, but for just 10 yards. Jackson threw more tonight, and went 2-for-6 for 29 yards, including a very nice 20 yard pass to Michael Stewart. However, the final score more reflected his two interceptions.

Williams struggled holding on to the ball as well. Midway through the third quarter, he fumbled the ball twice in a span of three plays, but both times Blair recovered the ball, saving themselves from suffering further damage. Earlier in the third, Williams coughed the ball up, but Blair recovered that one too.

Like nearly all year, the Blazer offense was led by running backs. Tonight they were led by Maryman, who had 88 yards rushing, and Thomas, who in his final game had 94 yards on just 12 carries. Stewart, the team’s top receiver, ended his successful high school career with three receptions for 37 yards.

Senior Denis Sosnotsev started the last game at running back, his only start of the year. Asked why he and Jackson started instead of the usual group of Williams, Thomas, etc., Seals would only say that some players were benched for “violating team rules.”

The Rockets win gave them a playoff berth in the 4A West division, which will start next Friday. The game was sealed when Michael Stewart dropped Williams’ pass on fourth down. RM downed the ball three times to seal the win, and elation for their upcoming run in the postseason.

Even though his first year as head coach was a losing year and frustrating for Seals, he also accentuated the positive after the game. “We had ups and downs. But all in all, they tried their best, and those guys who really worked came a long way this year. I enjoyed coaching these guys.”

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  • fan on November 8, 2004
  • MXL on November 9, 2004
    Didn't Denis start EVERY game of the year? How was this game his only start?
  • run on November 9, 2004
    Do The Blazre Play Their Best Player
  • Micahel Bushnell (View Email) on November 9, 2004
    His first start as primary running back. He started everygame at linebacker.
  • alumna3 (View Email) on December 9, 2004
    After the ball rolled around for a
    while, it wound up in the end zone
    where Femi Elemoso dove on it for
    the improbable touchdown that cut
    the Blair deficit to 14-7 following
    the extra point.

  • ??? on February 15, 2005 at 8:28 PM
    Hey Seales, I know we did not have that good a season this year. However, hopefully a better season awaits next year. 10-0, here we come.
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