Football matches season touchdown total in Blake blowout
NOV. 3, BLAKE—
Just two weeks ago, a winless varsity football season seemed inevitable. After losing seven straight games and scoring only 24 points all season, team morale was low, and so were expectations. But in week eight they finally edged out a victory against the un-ranked Einstein Titans. The game was wet, it was cold and it wasn't pretty — but in the end, they came out on top. This week, despite crowds of naysayers, the Blazers won again, trampling the Blake Bengals (1-8) 29-13.
The Blazers' first offensive drive was, unsurprisingly, weak — after all, the team has only scored 32 points all season. They fumbled, ran three yards, fumbled and punted, effectively handing Blake the first touchdown of the game.
Starting at the Bengal 43-yard line, Blake running back Corwin Acker, ran 57 yards in a five play drive and dove over the Blair offensive line for a touchdown with 6:53 left in the first quarter, taking two minutes off the clock. He was stopped on first down just once.
The Blair offense needed a touchdown — badly. If they didn't make it into the end zone on the next drive, the game would be lost and their winning streak would end before it began.
Trapped on the Blake 37-yard line on fourth down with five yards left to convert for the first, they went for it. Set up in the shotgun, senior Ross Williams called for the ball but could find no one open. Blake brought the blitz, so instead of forcing a pass, Williams scrambled. Running left, he was greeted by a host of Bengals. Cutting back to the right side, he took advantage of key blocking by senior offensive linemen Sam Giovannello and Captain Scott Lavon. He sprung through the entire Bengal defense for one of the more dramatic touchdowns of the season, finally reaching the end zone with 2:39 left on the clock. Blair tried to convert for two points, but was blocked. Down 6-7, the Blair offense was finally showing cohesiveness, moving as a unit down the field.
Blair and Blake continued to battle, each adding one more touchdown to the scoreboard. With 1:00 left in the half and Blair hanging onto a slim 14-13 lead, Blair was given an opportunity, and they ran with it. On fourth down with only two yards between the Blair end zone and the Blake offense, Acker caught a pitch from the right. This time, instead of running another few yards for his second touchdown of the night, he was leveled by Lavon, turning the ball over on downs.
The Blazers ran into the bus for halftime with their heads held high. "They knew they had it," said Head Coach Jeffrey Seals, "and that really made a big difference."
The Blazers shut out the Bengals in the second half and reached the end zone twice more — once in the third quarter with a three-yard run by senior Rodger Brown and once in the fourth quarter with a 12-yard run by Brown — asserting their dominance for the first time all season, 29-13, over Blake.
Statistically, the Bengals should have won. Their offense posted 216 yards to Blair's 200 on the ground and through the air. However, because Blair held them in red zone, they could not overcome the Blazers.
It wasn't great football, but it did the job. "We play rough and we play tough," said Seals. Aside from Williams' 37-yard touchdown run, the Blazers never completed a pass and only rushed for 4-6 yards at a time but because they consistently did so, they were able to gradually whittle away the distance between themselves and the end zone on drive after drive.
Because Blair has proven to be incapable of completing passes throughout the season, they concentrate on a run-oriented offense. They have three versatile, interchangeable backs – junior Enuma Nzesi, senior Rodger Brown, and Williams, which allows them to continually shuffle and refocus their run strategy.
Seals believed that the victory in week eight over Einstein helped to bring the Blazers together as a team and led to their dominating performance. "We really weren't sure that we could beat anyone," he said, "and then we won and it became an entirely different ball game. We know we can win."
If this truly is the great awakening of the Blair football giant, it couldn't have come at a better time — because in their final game of the season, Friday, Nov. 10, the Blazers host defending state champs Damascus.
Robert Feasley. Robert is a llamahead. More »