Blair lost 40-14 after a hard-fought but mistake-filled game
The Blair Blazers (2-2) lost to the Paint Branch Panthers (4-0) in a big game Friday night, with a final score of 40-14. The Blazer offense struggled against an athletic Paint Branch defense.
The game started with Paint Branch kicking off. On the Blazers' first drive, Blair went three and out, losing five yards on the drive. The punt by senior kicker Ricky Morri was blocked and recovered by Paint Branch, who ran it down for the score. The Panthers quickly got off with a strong lead. On Blair's second drive, the Blazers got just one first down, and then punted the ball right back to Paint Branch. The Panthers went on to score on that drive, on a touchdown run on 4th and goal.
After a good start to the next drive, senior quarterback Pablo Perez's throw was intercepted. Paint Branch had a long touchdown throw a few plays later, making the score 21-0.
In the second quarter, Blair's offense went out with a vengeance. The Blazers drove more than 50 yards, culminating in a short touchdown run by senior wide receiver Maada Kposowa.
Following this drive, the Blazer defense came out stronger. On Blair's 10 yard-line, senior safety Hajari Harrington stepped up with an amazing interception. That impressive play boosted the offense up, especially sophomore running back Brian Williams, who broke off a huge run on the following drive. The drive culminated with a touchdown pass from Perez to sophomore wide receiver Alfred Worrell. That was the last score of the first half, with a halftime score of 21-14.
After halftime, the first three drives all ended in punts. On Paint Branch's second drive of the half, the Panthers had good field positioning following a long punt return. It didn't take long for the Panthers to march only 15 yards and get a quick seven points. At the end of the third quarter, the Blazers were down 28-14.
On the ensuing drive, the Blazers turned the ball over on downs. Afterwards, the Panthers marched 40 yards down the field, then turned it over with a fumble recovered by Blair senior outside linebacker Kyle Smith. However, the Blazers didn't capitalize, resulting in yet another punt. Paint Branch, however, did capitalize on the good field positioning after the short punt. The Panthers drove 28 yards, scored a touchdown, but missed the extra point. On Blair's next drive, late in the fourth quarter and looking for a comeback, Perez starts taking shots downfield at his receivers hoping for a hail mary. The tactic did not work well, as Perez throws a pick six. Paint Branch missed the next extra point, which was the last time any team got close to scoring, and the game ended 40-14.
The main thing for the team moving forward is to determine what didn't go well against Paint Branch. The Blazers made "too many mistakes," Harrington said, "we didn't capitalize on our opportunities." "They just outschemed us," injured captain and junior running back Christopher Watkins said. The Blazers' plan is to look at more tape in the future as they prepare for the rest of the season.
Next week, the Blazers take on the Einstein Titans (2-2) at home for the homecoming game.
Andrew Gelman. Sports Editor More »