Blair handily defeated by defending state champs Damascus
NOV. 10, Blazer Stadium—
Damascus is not as strong a team as it was last year. A junior-entrenched roster, it lacks the overall leadership its state championship team held in such high esteems. This, however, mattered little as they dominated Blair last night in the Blazers' final game of the season, 35-7.
The Blazer offense was unable to move the ball against the Damascus defense. Their first drive, one that covered only 10 yards, ended when senior Ross Williams punted the ball into the Blair offensive line, resulting in a Hornet possession starting on the Blazer 47-yard line. The Damascus offense moved as a fluid machine, reaching the Blair end zone with Evan Zedler's 15-yard run through the Blazer defensive line with 3:13 left on the clock. The Hornets forced a punt on Blair's next possession and, again optimizing on pristine field position and a running game that could do no wrong against the struggling Blazer defense, scored in only three plays with a 59-yard run from Nick Bonturi to end the first quarter ahead of Blair 14-0.
The Blazers had an opportunity to retaliate in the second quarter when, on third down and nine, stuck at their own 36-yard line, Williams broke through the Hornet defense and ran 56 yards until he was finally stopped at Damascus' eight-yard line. With less than 10 yards to conquer, the Blair offense was stopped in its tracks by the Hornets, turning the ball over on downs. Damascus, taking over at their own three-yard line, used the momentum their defense granted them and steadily progressed the ball down the Blair field, easily converting for first downs through the air and on the ground. With 4:25 left in the half, Zedler put the game out of reach for the Blazers with a 19-yard run for a touchdown. Blair trailed 0-21.
Blair finished out the half with a turnover on downs, their second of the game.
The only major difference in the second half was how the Hornets scored on the Blazers. Instead of attacking the Blair run defense, they opted to throw through the air. With 10:49 left in the third quarter, Kyle Frazier found running back Tommy Cosgrove in the end zone with a 26 yard toss that left the Blazer secondary on the ground.
Williams ended Blair's next drive when, looking for senior Darius Smith on second down, he threw the ball right into the hands of Damascus' Ben Minturn. Damascus missed a field goal, bringing an end to the third quarter.
The Hornets scored once again in the fourth quarter with a two-yard run by Rob Golden with 3:50 left in the game, putting them ahead 35-0.
With the game in hand, the Hornets put in their entire senior roster, allowing their lesser seniors one final moment of glory before playoffs. Williams, on the kickoff following the touchdown, took advantage of the substitution by running 81 yards for Blair's final touchdown of the season. Seeming to go down at around the 40-yard line, he emerged from a host of Hornets, which he later attributed to the blocking efforts of senior Michael Gebeyehu, and burned the Damascus special team.
When the fourth quarter finally expired, the Blazers stood in shock. Finishing the season 2-8 was far from anything the team imagined they would do after a 6-4 season last year.
One Blair senior, upon the end of the game, took a knee and rested his head in his hands, unable to contain his emotions. For some, this was the end of being a Blazer, but for most, this was the end of football. The team next year will be without Sam Giovanniello, Tori Patton, Odir Sorto, Richard Chavez, Edward Byrd, Shane Senior Alex Lamarre, Carl Casseus, Andrew Hillocks, Peter Cadet, Roger Vaca, Rodger Brown, Colin Reed, Joseph Lattisaw, Ansoumane Camara, Richie Willet, Frank Tchaqou, Jean Camara, Diego Lopez, Smith, Gebeyehu, Williams and Lavon next year but looks to the large junior squad to lead the way.
Gathering around, Head Coach Seals addressed a team of discouraged, worn down Blazers. "Y'all had a tough year - probably one of the worst in Blair history - but you never gave up," he said, "and if you seniors remember one thing about this year, remember that."
And to the juniors, who will come back next year as seniors, "we're gonna get in the weight room off season and get big," said Seals. "We're gonna start off next year with a healthy team and we're gonna keep it that way - no more injuries. After all, after such a bad season, the only way to go is up."
Robert Feasley. Robert is a llamahead. More »