Blair comes within inches of beating on of the metro area's top teams
SEPT 28, SENECA VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL—
The 2002 Blair football team came out this year looking to prove to the county, to the school and to itself that last season's success was no fluke. The Blazers made their point clear today, losing by just one point to the Washington Post's top-ranked Seneca Valley High School Screaming Eagles to even Blair's record at 2-2.
The game came right down to the wire. Two questionable calls, one by Coach James Short and the other by the referee, sealed the Blazers' fate. With a little over five minutes to go, Short elected to go for the win after a touchdown brought Blair within one point, 13-14. The 2-point conversion attempt failed. "The play got misconstrued in the huddle," said Short.
Blair made a great defensive stand and forced Seneca Valley to punt on its next possession. The punter fumbled, recovered and then ran away from Blazer tacklers to get off a pooch kick out of bounds. When it looked as if Blair would gain excellent field position for a possibly winning drive, the yellow laundry hit the field. The referee called roughing the kicker, which gave the Eagles a first down and took away the chances of a Blair upset.
Down 14-0 at halftime, the Blazers answered after the break. They came out and completely dominated every aspect of the game. Senior running back Felix Ruiz stepped up and ripped a 25-yard burst up the right side of the line between the guard and the tackle for a big momentum swing.
With 16.6 seconds to go in the third quarter, in Seneca Valley's territory, senior running back Jermaine Jack converted a major fourth down run that put Blair in scoring position. Jack finally put Blair on the board with a 1-yard touchdown scamper behind one of the most dominating defensive lines in the county.
The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, which gave Seneca Valley the ball at their own 35-yard line. With momentum already in favor of the Blazers, junior linebacker Hansel Cedeno laid a hellacious hit directly on the ball, jarring the rock loose from the grasps of the Seneca Valley running back, senior Justin Warren. The Blazers recovered the ball with the sweet smell of upset in the air.
With 5:43 left to go in the game, Blair called a timeout with fourth and goal, inches from a score. Short called a quarterback sneak right over top of Blair's 270-pound junior center Ralph Fertil for six points, leaving the Blazers one point away from a tie.
The two calls in the closing moments of the game snatched away chances of the biggest upset in recent Blair memory. "I went for the win," said Short. "If I had to do it again, I would still go for the win."
By playing so exceptionally against an excellent Seneca Valley squad, the Blazers showed that they could compete with anyone in the county. "On paper we lost this game, but in our hearts it was a victory," said senior wide receiver Avon Jackson. "We proved to everyone that we are the real deal and that we can play with the best of the best."
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 »