Blazers get shut down by dominant Cougar defense
Heading into Friday night's game against the Quince Orchard Cougars (10-1), the Blair Blazers (8-3) were eager to pick up their first playoff win in school history. However, they will have to wait until next year after being eliminated by the Cougars, 35-7.
The Blazers, who fell to Quince Orchard 48-17 in the opening round of last year's playoffs, were hoping to reverse the results this time around. However, it was quickly apparent that this game would be similar to the last matchup between these two teams. The Blazers' first offensive drive resulted in a three and out, and the ensuing punt was blocked by the Cougars and returned for a touchdown.
Later in the first quarter, the Cougars drove deep into Blair territory to earn a first and goal at the Blazer 5-yard line. The Blair defensive line held strong for two straight rushing attempts, but the Cougars broke through for a touchdown on third down with a quarterback sneak to take a 14-0 lead. The Quince Orchard rushing offense continued to punish the Blazers in the second quarter as the Cougar running back dove over his blockers to extend the lead to 21.
The Blazers fought back with a deep touchdown throw from senior quarterback Desmond Colby to senior wide receiver Cliff Carter. Still, Blair entered halftime facing an intimidating 21-7 deficit. Blair head coach Andrew Fields admitted that his team may have been outmatched. "They were a bit bigger than us on both sides of the ball, and a bit more experienced at the line of scrimmage,” he said.
Blair refused to go away in the second half, holding the Cougars scoreless in the third quarter while making multiple drives deep into Cougar territory. However, each spirited comeback attempt fell short, as the Blazers committed several costly drive-killing turnovers. An interception and a turnover on downs halted two scoring opportunities for the Blazers that could have pulled them within one touchdown of Quince Orchard.
Quince Orchard finally put the game on ice with yet another rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The Cougars tacked on another score with five minutes remaining to complete the 35-7 victory.
The Blazers were plagued by penalties and sloppy play throughout the game, which ultimately cost them. "Players were getting off the ball too quick,” junior defensive lineman Zamon Robinson said of the team's many false start penalties.
Blair's attention now turns to the 2017 season as they have been knocked out of the playoffs. Fields said his players must learn from their performance against Quince Orchard in order to have a successful season next year. "We will take steps in the offseason to make sure we correct mistakes,” he said.
Ryan Handel. My name is Ryan Handel, and I'm a Staff Writer for Silver Chips Online. I'm on the Blair wrestling team and in my spare time I enjoy watching sports and advocating for the Arthritis Foundation. More »