Blazers show character and heart in tough defeat
Now, I know I'm breaking every single rule in the prestigious bible of good sports writing, but I just can't make myself write this without getting my emotions into it. Mike Wilbon and Tony K. would be ashamed of me but in a game of this caliber where the Blair Blazers lost to a tough Paint Branch team 35-14 Friday October 12 it's hard not to.
This game had so many ‘what if' situations it makes me want to cry. What if Avon Jackson wouldn't have got burned for the touchdown that put Paint Branch up 35- 6. What if senior Alfonso Angus would have broke the shoe string tackle at the five-yard line with 7 seconds to go. If both of those ‘what ifs' would have happened then the game would have went into overtime 21- 21. But since neither of these happened the game ended a hard fought 35- 14 loss.
The Blazers got the ball first and junior Cedric Mack was hammered on a short return. Throughout most of the game Paint Branch's special teams held the Blazers to under about 15 yards on most returns. The Blazers loosened up Paint Branch with a few nice runs to open up the game. A bad handoff resulted in a fumble and the Panthers recovered on the first series.
On Paint Branch's opening drive they had a long run by standout junior Tamar Barnaby called back on a clipping penalty. The Blazers defense was able to stop Paint Branch on the opening drive but the success of the defense was solely based on foolish penalties by the Panthers and good fortune by Blair.
When the Blazers got the ball back they continued to run hard. The same play 929 buck sweep worked multiple times versus the Panthers and for the first time this season the running game opened up the pass for the Blazers.
Early in the game the question crossed my mind, why the heck are they throwing the ball. My question was answered by junior Avon Jackson, "because we can". Although the Blazers only completed one pass for 24 yards and a touchdown the performance showed that Coach James short had a new since of confidence in the passing game. Whether Peisert or senior James McCrae is taking the snaps the Blazers can get it done in the air.
Jackson the recipient of the Blazers first touchdown pass of the season was able to slip behind the cornerback to close the gap Paint Branch had created. "[Paint Branch] is known for being real fast and plus they're known for being a real good team, so I was just excited that they gave me the opportunity to score on them," said Jackson after the game.
The Blazers were held scoreless until Angus turned a buck sweep into 92 yards and a touchdown with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter. This made the game 35- 14 and the Blazers were able to get the ball back once more late in the fourth. "I got the ball and I was like [man] I wanna win," said Angus. He hit the sidelines and used his track speed to hustle down the sidelines.
Angus has come up with big plays and key rushes all season and even in defeat it was no different. In this game he had the 92 yard touchdown and with less than 30 seconds on the clock he was able to make another long run but was tripped at about the five. The Blazers were out of timeouts and could not capitalize on the run. Angus finished the game leading all rushers with 155 yards.
The Blazers are 3-2 now but don't cut them short because they've loss to two games. The losses have come by the hands of two county powerhouse's Seneca Valley and Paint Branch. This game shows that the Blazers aren't the cream of the county yet, but should be there soon.
This game was an amazing in the sense that the Blazers showed an incredible amount of heart. Down 35- 6 going into the fourth quarter Angus had enough heart to break two long runs. Mccrae was able to lay out a few of Paint Branches receivers with an injured ankle and that incredible O- line was able to block and push the Panthers off the ball late into the fourth with little hope for winning. To me this is a great football team and like Paint Branch head Coach Bob Windsor put it ‘they are gonna win some games'.
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 »