Defense and deep ball help Blazers blindside Blue Devils

Sept. 17, 2005, midnight | By Abe Schwadron | 18 years, 8 months ago

JV football tops rival Springbrook 13-2


As the final whistle blew at Blazer Stadium on Thursday night, a sea of red swarmed in triumph, jumping up and down in celebration. The Blazers could hardly hide their emotions, smiling wide and thrusting their scarlet helmets in the air. Despite minor injuries to starting tailback Clifford Gossin and quarterback Terrance Kelly Jr., the JV football squad improved their record to 2-0 with a 13-2 win over archrival Springbrook.

"That's my rival," said head coach Adrian Kelly. "I played at Blair, and I never won [against Springbrook] as a player, so it feels good to coach Blair to a win against them."

Versatile sophomore Girard Boulware filled in at quarterback and later hauled in a highlight-reel touchdown pass from Kelly Jr. in the fourth quarter. "I play every position," said Boulware, who also returned punts and rushed for ten yards.

Gossin, a sophomore, rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries despite injuring his knee early in the first quarter. The momentary losses of Gossin and Kelly Jr., who fought off cramps on the sidelines, did not phase the Blazers, who continued to play smash mouth football, challenging Springbrook's defense.

The Blazers' hard-hitting defense, led by freshman Andy Holmes (8 tackles), kept the Blue Devils out of the end zone and came up with big plays to sink Springbrook's hopes of a victory.

In the early minutes of the second quarter, Gossin powered his way into the end zone behind a strong offensive line. The score completed a 12-play, 57-yard drive. The extra point put the Blazers up 7-0.

The Blue Devils answered immediately, however, with a run-heavy 50-yard drive. But the Blazers' defense did not quit, stopping three Springbrook runs from inside the 10-yard line. The third, which came on a third down and goal from the Blair 2-yard line, resulted in a fumble, and the Blazers snatched it up just outside their own end zone.

After Gossin gave the offense a little breathing room with a short run, the Blue Devils pressured Kelly Jr. in the backfield with a blitz. With nowhere to go, the Blair QB was gang-tackled for a safety, Springbrook's only points of the game, putting the score at 7-2, with the Blazers on top going into halftime.

Springbrook came out with a bit of trickery to start the third quarter, successfully completing an onside kick, recovering at Blair's 43-yard line. The Blazers' defense did not panic, however, recovering a fumble by the Blue Devils' quarterback on a key third down play.

With less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter, the Blazers took over at midfield thanks to a long punt return by Boulware. On second down and five yards to go, Kelly Jr. rolled out to his left and lofted a deep pass to Boulware, who was wide open down the left sideline. With only one man to beat, Boulware cut back inside, sidestepping the Blue Devils' helpless safety, and scampered into the end zone, igniting the Blair sideline. "Special," Boulware put the play simply.

The touchdown pass, the Blazers' first completed pass of the season, stunned Springbrook's defense, which for the majority of the game rushed ten defenders from the line of scrimmage. "They disrespected us all game," said coach Kelly. "They stacked the line up on the run all game, so I knew the fade pass would be wide open."

With the Blazers up, 13-2, sophomore Rex Jarrett sealed JV Football's second straight victory, intercepting a Springbrook pass in the waning seconds of the game.

Coach Kelly expressed the team's post-game emotions plainly: "I never liked Springbrook."

Abe Schwadron. Abe is a huge basketball, baseball, and football fan that likes to read up on sports in SLAM, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN magazines. Hobbies include streetball, poker and film-making. A sneaker addict, Abe likes to keep his kicks fresh. Abe likes reggae and hip-hop music, … More »

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