SEPT 25, BLAZER STADIUM-
As of this time last year, the Blazers already had two shutout victories and were on their way to their second consecutive 5-4 season. Unfortunately, Blair has opened the season 0-3 following a disappointing 17-7 loss to a Damascus team that is currently ranked 17th in the area by The Washington Post.
Coming off of a 7-2 loss at Sherwood on Sept 12, in which the Blazers' only score was a voluntary kneel down by the opposing punter in his endzone, Blair looked to capture its first win of the year. Unfortunately, penalties and mental mistakes, as well as two costly fourth quarter fumbles led to the Blazer's demise. Senior running back Perry Smith felt that Blair had the ability to win but gave the game away. "It was an even battle but we beat ourselves. We had a mental collapse. It wasn't that they were so good... we played poorly," he said.
The game began as a defensive struggle as neither team had success in gaining yardage in the first quarter. However, the Hornets made a 17 yard pass off of a fake punt that led to the games first score, a 32 yard field goal with 4:35 remaining in the second quarter. On the opening drive of the second half, Damascus completed 29 and a 24 yard passes which led to a two yard touchdown run.
Fortunately, the Blazers were able to strike back as the offense had its first score in over seven quarters. In easily its best drive of the young season, the Blazers marched 87 yards in four minutes to pay dirt as the team was able to capitalize on several key passes. Senior quarterback Jonathan Gregory threw 21 and 13 yard passes to juniors Michael Stewart and Jordan Townsend respectively. These led to a 23 yard touchdown strike from Gregory to senior wide-out Josh Garcia with 4:45 left in the third quarter. This same combination hooked-up for the Blazers' last touchdown, in the team's first game, a 15-12 loss to Magruder.
Garcia gave credit to Gregory for the good pass, which enabled him to score after faking out a defender. "Jonathan Gregory read the defensive scheme and made a great decision to throw the ball early. I just caught it and gave [a defender] a move and the next thing I knew I was in the endzone," he said.
The Hornets stormed back by putting together a string of big runs leading up to another goal-line rushing touchdown. This put Blair behind 17-7, a deficit from which it was not able to come back as Smith coughed up the ball twice in the game's final quarter.
This season the defense has played well and has not allowed a team to score more than two touchdowns per game this season. Unfortunately, the team's inexperienced offense has underperformed.
Ninth-year coach James Short believes that the team has the ability to improve on their poor start. "I don't think we have performed up to our potential yet. I feel we can do better," he said.
Senior fullback Hansel Cedeno realizes that the team urgently needs to begin winning if it hopes to have its first ever trip to the postseason. "We have to win every single game in order to make the playoffs," he said.
In the wake of hurricane Isabel, the Blazers' game at Springbrook has been postponed to Sept 30, at 2:00.
Click here to stream the Blair Sports Network's highlights from this game.
Zach Mellman. Zach Mellman was born on October 18, 1956 (he was held back once or twice). He has lived in Takoma Park, Maryland his entire life. He is currently a senior at Blair enrolled in honors classes. He is also a member of Blair's golf team, … More »