Team is one point away from upset of best team in state
On Saturday, the Blair Blazers suffered a heartbreaking defeat by the hands of the Washington Post's top ranked school, 14-13. In a game in which the Blazers were supposed to be slaughtered, they played with heart and emotion and if it were not for two questionable calls, one by Coach James Short and the other by the referee the Blazers would have had the chance to go home victorious.
In the closing minutes of the game, the Blazers had a chance to tie the ball game at 14-14, but Coach Short elected to go for the win, instead of the tie. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Blazers were down, 13-14 with a little over 5 minutes to go in the game.
After a great defensive stand by Blair, Seneca was forced to punt on their next possession. The punter fumbled the ball but was able to recover it and run away from Blazer tacklers to get off a pooch kick out of bounds. When it looked as if Blair would receive excellent field possession for the game winning drive the yellow laundry hit the field. The punter was hit on the play and the referee called roughing the kicker, which gave the Eagles a 1st and 10 sealing the Blazers fate.
The game started sluggish for the Blazers, with a fumble by
senior running back Felix Ruiz on the Blair 32, giving the Eagles a short field. They converted the turnover into 6 easy points, with a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brandon Chapman, right beyond the out stretched hands of junior cornerback Josh Garcia.
After that score, the game became a defensive struggle. The Blazers started two straight drives with bad field position and ended up punting. However the Blazers were stout on defense forcing the Eagles to, two three and outs. The Blazers ran the ball the entire first quarter and survived relatively unscathed, with only a 7-point deficit.
Seneca Valley started the second quarter with a long run by senior running back Justin Warren, breaking loose for over 30 yards. Senior cornerback Cedric Mack made the touchdown saving tackle. However, on the next play from scrimmage, Chapman rolled out using his 4.4, 40 speed to score on an easy bootleg with 9:28 left in the half, to go on top 14-0.
From this point on the Blazers took over. Mixing up the inside/outside combination of senior running back Jermaine Jack, and Ruiz, Blair was able to put together a string of successful rushes, knocking on the door at one point but failing on a fourth and four attempt.
In the closing minutes of the second half senior quarterback Arie Piesert gave Seneca a glimpse of Blair's passing attack, running an efficient two minute drill, but failing to get in the end zone. The Blazers went into the locker room at halftime, down 14-0 but having played a good first half, they were not at all out of it. Short told his squad at halftime to "just win," and they came out of the gates looking to do so.
After more defensive possessions by both teams, in desperate needs of a big play, Ruiz rips a 25-yard burst up the right side of the line between the guard and the tackle for a big momentum swing. With 16.6 seconds to go in the third, in Seneca Valley's territory Jack converted a major 4th down conversion that put Blair in scoring possession. Jack finally put Blair on the board with a 1-yard touchdown scamper behind one of the most dominating offensive lines in the county.
The ensuing kickoff went out of bound giving Seneca the ball at their 35-yard line. With momentum already in favor of the Blazers, junior Linebacker Hansel Cedeno lays a hellacious hit directly on the ball, jarring the rock loose from the grasps of Warren. The Blazers recovered the ball with the sweet smell of upset in the air.
On this drive, the Blazers showed poff more of that incredible ground game, converting another crucial fourth down and short. Blair wore Seneca down forcing the secondary of the Eagles to make all the tackles.
With 5:43 left to go in the game Blair calls timeout with 4th and goal, inches from the goaline. Short called a QB sneak right over top of big 280 pound junior center Ralph Furtil for 6 points leaving the Blazers one point away from a tie.
On Seneca's final possession they ran out the clock taking a knee to wrap up the game. The Blazers were two calls away from a humongous upset of the Seneca Valley Screaming Eagles. "I feel very fortunate to walk away with a win today," said legendary Seneca Valley Coach Terry Changuris.
Click here to stream the Blair Sports Network's highlights from this game.
Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »