Silver Chips Online

Blazers conquer the Boulevard

Blair defeats Northwood 37 - 20 in rivalry game

By Blake Morgan-Gamber, Online Features and Sports Editor
November 7, 2009
BLAZER STADIUM, Nov. 6 -

The varsity football team beat the Northwood Gladiators in the Battle of the Boulevard to close their season with a last home victory on Senior Night. Crowds of Blazers braved the cold weather to cheer on their team as they took on the school's greatest rival. The Blair team was proud to bring the season to a close with a win on their home turf, and coaches and returning players are looking forward to next season.

Both teams continued to battle it out up to the final seconds of the game. A large number of both Blair and Northwood touchdowns were scored in a back-and-forth rally in the game's final two minutes. With a little over three minutes left in the game, junior cornerback Caleb Furlow ran the ball into the end zone for his third touchdown of the night, making the score 31-6.

Though Blair dominated most of the game, Northwood did not back down. When the team trailed by 25 points with less than one minute and 30 seconds left in the game, Northwood's quarterback senior Jimmy Hessler speedily brought his team up the field to score their second touchdown of the night. To further secure Blair's lead, senior captain and quarterback Alex Egber hit senior captain Andrew Gondor with a pass to run in a 35-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 37-12. "Everything was on the line," senior captain Abe Jarr said. "We had to win." In a last effort to shorten the margin of their loss, Northwood senior running back Anatoly Moschkin caught a pass from Hessler in the end zone, followed by a completed two-point conversion. Yet the Gladiators fell short and the game ended with a 37-20 victory for the Blazers.

Gondor and Jarr explained that winning on Senior Night, as well as defeating Blair's rival neighbor, was the best way to finish out the season for their senior year. After the game, the team's sense of fulfillment was radiant. "We own the boulevard," Gondor said with pride.

The opening minutes of the game proved to be a back-and-forth battle between the two squads. The Gladiators were quick to score; just three minutes into the game, Hessler hit his tight-end in the middle with a pass. The receiver ran the ball up the field for an early touchdown. The Blazers retaliated soon after when Gondor returned the Northwood punt all the way down the field to score a touchdown. "[Northwood] scored the first touchdown, but we didn't let that get us down," Furlow explained. Fan support at the start of the game heightened the Blair squad's enthusiasm and kept them fighting, according to Furlow.

Furlow had three touchdowns in the game and was key to the Blazer victory, according to head coach Jeff Seals. "He played a good game," Seals said. In the post-game huddle, Seals commended Caleb and other individual players for their contributions to the night's win. Seals also mentioned that he was proud of the seniors for leading the predominantly young team during the season. "They led by example," he said. "They all did what they needed to do to lead the team."

While Seals believed Blair had a lot of strong moments during the game, he claimed that there are always areas where the team can improve. He explained that the major problem this season was completing plays and causing penalties. "We messed up on executions and had [unnecessary] penalties," he said. "I want to put more plays in, but you need to be able to execute what you have."

Seals explained the team needs to step up their level of play in order to be successful in the 2010 season. "We've got a lot of work to do next year," Seals told the team in a huddle after the game. Regardless, Seals praised the predominantly young team for putting in their best efforts. "You can't be disappointed they did the best they could," he said. "They didn't have a lot, but they worked with what they had."

With the season coming to a close, seniors on the team expressed the need for underclassmen to step up to the plate and become leaders for next year. "The juniors now need to take it up," Jarr said. "We're passing the torch to them."

Throughout the game, spirit filled the stadium as Blair students, staff, alumni and family members showed their support for the football team in their greatest rivalry of the season. "Everyone was pumped up," Furlow said. The game was also Senior Night for cheerleaders and poms, so friends and family showed up to celebrate their seniors as they cheered for the successful Blazers in their Battle of the Boulevard. Blair was also victorious in the "Marine Corps Chin-Up Challenge" which occurred by the sidelines throughout the game. Blazer fans surpassed Northwood's 136 chin-ups with an astounding 196 chin-ups.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9624