Silver Chips Online

Varsity football falls victim to Patriots' pass attack

Blair drops third game in loss to Wootton, falls to 3-4

By Anshul Sood, Online Sports Editor
October 17, 2008
WOOTTON STADIUM, Oct. 16 -

Blair's varsity football team was unable to stop the passing game of the Wootton Patriots Thursday night, falling 36-7 and dropping their third straight game. The Blazers are 3-4 on the season after starting 3-1.

Coming into the game, the Blazers were still banged up. Senior fullback, quarterback and lineman Dayne Bolt was out with an ankle injury and senior co-captain linebacker Leopold Kenghi was injured late in the game and was taken out in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Jeffery Seals, however, returned to field after missing the past two games with an illness. Seals did not accept injuries as an excuse for the Blazers' performance during the game. "There are 28 players on this team," he said. "If somebody's injured, that just means somebody else has to step up. We got to do the best we can with who we have, regardless."

Wootton's staple form of offense this season has been the passing game in contrast with the Blazers who prefer to keep the ball on the ground. But it was the Patriots who were able settle into their comfort zone. Wootton senior quarterback Mike Mooney had a total of 451 passing yards on the night, a Maryland public high school single-game record. Coming into the game, Mooney was regarded by the Washington Post as one of the area's top quarterbacks.

In the first quarter, both teams asserted their dominance defensively against the other team's offensive game plan. The Patriots were able to prevent the Blazers from converting any first downs in the quarter by stopping the running game cold. The Blazers, in turn, were able to slow the Patriots' passing game by getting pressure in the face of Mooney.

After a stalemate first quarter, Wootton's offense adjusted to the Blazer defense in the second quarter. The Patriots used quick screens to wide receivers and swing passes to running backs to render the Blazers' pressure useless. The Patriots scored their first touchdown on a quick screen-and-run for 52 yards. After a Blazer three-and-out, the Patriots used a 65-yard screen pass to get to the Blazer 19-yard line. A few plays later, Mooney scrambled into the end-zone for a 13-0 advantage.

The Patriots also showed their ability to throw the deep ball in addition to running effective screens. After starting their possession with about a minute left in the half, the Patriots used a screen to get the ball near midfield. From there, Mooney threw a 52-yard bomb to a wide-open receiver to take a 20-0 lead into halftime.

The third quarter started much the same for the Patriots. After receiving the kickoff, Wootton methodically advanced the ball to past midfield before Mooney threw another 41-yard touchdown bomb to a wide-open receiver in the endzone. A failed two-point conversion attempt kept the score at 26-0 in favor of the Patriots.

The Blazer offense remained stagnant throughout the second half until deep into the fourth quarter. Determined not to be shutout for the first time this season, the Blazers were able to strike before the game ended. Senior running back and linebacker Jonathan Haughton broke free near the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown run, brining the score to 29-7. But the Patriots showed no mercy and scored in the closing minutes off a 15-yard scramble by the second-string quarterback for a final score of 36-7.

Seals was disappointed with the result of the game and did not attribute the loss to any one area of difficulty. "We just got totally beat, no excuses," Seals said. "We played terribly as a team. We had blown coverages on defense and our offense was unable to move the ball."

Junior co-captain quarterback Alex Egber was also frustrated with the loss. "We didn't execute on offense or defense and it showed," he said. "We need to focus better in practice. We need to study our next opponent and find out how to beat them."

The Blazers' next home game is against Damascus on Oct. 31 at 6:30 p.m.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8588