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Oct. 27, 2007

Football falls in rainy Homecoming

by Greg Kohn, Online Sports Editor
BLAZER STADIUM, Oct. 26 Ė

Blair's varsity football team hosted the Kennedy Cavaliers for the homecoming game on Friday despite the elements. Although the game was evenly matched for most of the night, Blair (0-8) was unable to make up for long Kennedy plays, and the Blazers lost, 18-0.

Just as Mother Nature was unforgiving to Blazer Stadium, so has this season been unforgiving to the Blazers. "It's hard to be a senior on this team," head coach Jeffery Seals said. "Our record doesn't show how hard these kids work. They do what they're told and never give up."

Homecoming game is usually the most packed football game of the season, but between the downpour and winter temperatures, the stands were only dotted with a few umbrellas as senior players were escorted by their parents through the bleachers, a tradition of Senior Night.

By the time the teams took the field for the opening kickoff, there was more water on the field than grass. The Blazers started by pinning Kennedy within their own 5-yard line. The Cavaliers, however, expertly maneuvered out of danger on a short pass up the center. The open receiver turned and ran for sixty more yards, a long play that epitomized Kennedy's ability to break out at any point.

"Their long plays killed us," junior defensive end Neil Corran said. "A few missed tackles made the difference."

The Blazer defense regrouped, and with the help of the relentless rain, forced a Kennedy fumble. As could be expected, the rain did more than just ruin the field. Four consecutive plays midway through the second quarter resulted in Blazer fumbles, though two were recovered.

Blair's offense, who has had trouble producing all year, ventured first on the ground. With little success, the coaches turned to Alex Egber, the starting sophomore quarterback. Late in the first quarter, Egber sent a ball out to the left sideline, where senior wide receiver Jeremy Sutton tracked the ball despite low visibility. Sutton ran 55 yards with the ball before a Cavalier tackled him and knocked the ball loose.

Kennedy recovered possession, and on the first play of the second quarter broke through the Blazer defensive line for a long touchdown run. The Cavaliers chose to go for two points rather than chance the wet and windy path to the uprights. Blair stopped Kennedy to keep the score 6-0.

Still in the first half, Blazer junior running back Keith Ayensu tried to get the offense rolling. But without much support and penalties that negated long runs, Blair had difficulty moving the chains.

In the second half, the rain continued to influence the game. After Blair's defense forced a Kennedy turnover on downs, Egber fumbled the snap and Kennedy returned the loose ball to end zone for a 12-0 lead. Blair's following possession resulted in another fumble deep in Blazer territory. Kennedy capitalized on the short field to extend their advantage to 18-0.

The Blazers did a better job of holding onto the ball in the fourth quarter, but the offense continued to stall, having difficulty moving past half field. Senior defensive lineman Issy Melton led the defensive fight, highlighted by two consecutive tackles that pushed the Cavaliers back. The Blazer defense continued to play well, giving up no further points, but the damage was already done, and the final score read 18-0, Kennedy.

Blair football closes out the season with games on the road against Damascus on Nov. 2 and against Springbrook on Nov. 10. Both matchups are daunting for the winless Blazers, but strong performances would go a long way as the team tries to salvage another disappointing season and again look towards the future.



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  • On Losing on October 28, 2007 at 6:02 PM
    Losing is, almost by definition, the worst thing in football. Like any competition, football is played to win. That is the sole purpose, the only goal, the entire point. Losing always feels wrong. Losing is not sad, or even infuriating, so much as it is itchy. A loss is uncomfortable, awkward, a disturbance in the force, and it doesnít matter how many times it happens, it always feels that way.
    As Tolstoy famously said, all wins are somehow alike, but every loss loses in its own way. The number of ways to win a football game is somehow finite, but there are nearly infinite ways to lose. In any game, a million things can go wrong, there are a million mistakes to be made, and it only takes one, uncompensated for or undefended against, to lose. It only takes one moment, when the wrong players are on the field or the wrong penalty is taken, and everythingís over. Losing is easier than winning not because it is simpler, but because it is actually more complicated. A team wins by doing the few clear but immensely difficult things that all its members have known, for their entire careers, that they must do. But a team might lose for one reason or many- sometimes a lack of ability or a lack of desire or a lack of intelligence, but more often simply by failing to see all the angles, by letting some small error slip by unnoticed in the heat of things, an error which somehow snowballs ferociously until it becomes decisive.
    Because of this, there is a great deal of nuance to losses. There are games lost on unfortunate bounces, on injuries, on fatigue, on bad calls. There are close, down-to-the-wire losses and losses so one-sided that itís as if only one team was even there. A game can be lost on one bad play or twenty, and sometimes even on none at all. Each of these losses is different, they feel different and they are, in fact, structurally different.
    This is the redeeming quality of losses: every individual loss contains within itself the seeds of a future win. The occasional loss is good and healthy, and even necessary for a team. With the exception of the elite team- a creature which has always been rare and is now nearly extinct- every team has its flaws and problems: the poor offensive line that canít protect the quarterback, the too-slow defensive secondary, the disorganized backfield, the tendency to take excessive penalties. All of these can pass uncorrected, and even unnoticed, as long as a team is winning. Sometimes it is only when defense gives up the game-losing drive late in the game that they realize how urgently they need to improve. Sometimes it is only the impulsive personal foul in the last minutes of the game that reminds a team, collectively, of the importance of self-control. The right loss at the right time (or, from the teamís perspective, the disastrous loss at the worst possible moment) can be, in its own way, more inspirational and motivating than a great win. The loss exposes weaknesses that the win might conceal, and if properly managed, the revelations the come from a bad loss can ultimately strengthen the team.
    The dangerous thing is that losing, like winning, has its own momentum. There is a point when a streak of any kind gathers speed and becomes destiny- the winners who seem to mow down everything in their path, no matter how many mistakes they make, and the losers who canít seem to get a win no matter how hard they try or how many things they do right. The beginning of either variety of streak might be luck or skill or hard work, or the opposites of any of these, but the momentum of a streak is all psychological. After struggling to put together those first 3 or 4 consecutive wins, a team can ride on a wave of confidence, the aggressive joyful energy that results from comfort with oneís own abilities and the sure knowledge that fortune favors the bold.
    If the momentum of a winning streak is hubris, the momentum of a losing streak is introspection. A little introspection is necessary for football players. Without a certain attention to oneís own play, one can easily become a liability to the team, the guy whoís constantly trying to pull off things he just canít do. But nothing kills a team faster than too much introspection. For a football team to function well, perhaps more than in any other sport, the players must be more attentive to their teammates' play than to their own- a great running back is great not so much because of what he does, but because he can visualize and predict what his teammates will do. He knows where the blocks are coming from and what cuts to make.
    When you watch a team on a losing streak, you can almost see the precise moment when it breaks apart, and that breaking apart has nothing to do with dressing-room bickering or blame-throwing- such are the symptoms, not causes, of collapse. The collapse is simply the players, one by one in succession, turning their attention inward. The coordination is the first thing to go, and itís painfully obvious on the field, each guy so preoccupied with making the right play himself, so desperate to prove that he is not the problem, that they stop seeing each other. Passes donít connect, tackles are missed, and things like pre-snap penalties become commonplace. It is not a lack of confidence that ruins a team on a losing streak; it is rather a sheer lack of team-ness, cohesion, trust.
    This is why, early in a losing streak, it might seem to be very clearly certain players who have fallen out of sync with the rest. But as it wears on, it looks more and more like nothing will solve anything, because the problems have become total- we throw up our hands and give up, thinking that only an entirely new roster could solve anything. We have, however, fundamentally misunderstood what we are seeing. The players are not, individually, suddenly all worse than previously. Rather, we are seeing in action the simple fact that no one is a good football player by himself.
    It is true, then, that a game can be lost easily on individual failings. But it can only be won as a team. We would, all of us, do well to remember that in the worst depths of any losing streak.
  • senior on October 29, 2007 at 8:43 AM
    '0-8!!!!!!!!!
  • #3 on October 29, 2007 at 10:15 PM
    to On Losing:
    Your comment, as well as being eloquently written, gets to the core of many issues on this yearís team. And while I recognize and appreciate the thought you obviously put into writing this piece (article worthy itself in my opinion) I believe you miss the great effort, time, energy, blood, and sweat, this team has put out this year. It has become a seemingly acceptable standard at this school for our football team to lose games and intern moral, concentration, and coerciveness as a unit; all factors key to any team of any kind. However, this team in spite of the losses has stuck together and never given up. While the scores rarely reflects the qualitative effort that is laid out on a Montgomery county field every night, the fact that each succeeding Monday this team returns to the same old jeers, the same old taunts and the same old lack of any respect shows more about our character then any win against another team ever could. In my sports career, I have played for winning teams and losing teams. I can say about this team with out any doubt that they are more dedicated to each other, there friends, their family and this School than any other team I have ever played on. If given a chance to win every game on another team or lose for the rest of my existence with this team, I would stick with my guys every time.
    Your comments are not unfounded or uncalled for. Just know that we are the ones out there sweating, bleeding, and losing. Not you.
    -With Blazer Pride to the end
    Andy Holmes

  • On Losing on October 30, 2007 at 12:59 PM
    The comment was not directed at any person or part of the team. I do know a little something about playing on losing teams though, and I think its something that needs to be remembered. I no longer live in the area, as I have graduated, and as such I am unable to truly get a pulse on the team, but I have been keepig track of the scores and stats. I have merely observed from the best I can, and in no way am challenging any of your assertions about the team. I'm glad to hear that the team is sticking together, that is a tribute to the strength of the team, as well as the your own and the other captains leadership. I am fully aware who are the ones out there sweating and bleeding, but I have been out there before, and am not totally out of my element discussing a losing season. These are simply thoughts I noticed during my time, and thought they may be applicable to this season as well. Maybe, maybe not. I'm not there, I can't say for sure. Based on your response, maybe I'm totally off base. Sorry if I offended you or anyone else, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the issue. Good luck with the rest of the season.
  • #4 Lock N' Load on October 30, 2007 at 9:24 PM
    Keep it real Andy. The dedication on this team despite the losing shows how much pride each of our players have to this football program. We know that every week we are expected to lose but we come out on Fridays and play 150% until the final whistle blows. Many people dont understand the effort we put in during the week. All the blood, sweat, and tears we have gone through in my mind is well worth it. I can proudly say I am proud of the Blair Football team and I wouldnt play for anyone else. Ride Together, Die together (kind of corny but oh well!)
    Blazer4Life
  • #3: To On Losing Original on November 1, 2007 at 7:38 PM
    HEy thanks for clarifying some things for me, I'm sorry if my response to you felt hostile, and I and the team apreciate your support. I just felt that it was time that someone at this school stood up for us. Its hard getting muddy every week when it feels like your school is just hanging you out to dry. please pardon the cliche. Thanks again for giving me a venue and catylist to get some thoughts out there.
    -AH
  • jonathan gregory on November 1, 2007 at 8:12 PM
    keep your head up blair you guys will rebound from this have a good rest of the season
  • fan on November 9, 2007 at 10:06 PM
    Egber didn't fumble that snap that was returned, he was tackled before he could even fully hand-off the ball to his teammate, so it wasn't his fault
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