Blazers fall in a heartbreaker to Watkins Mill at home, 20-13
OCT. 6, BLAZER STADIUM—
As the JV Football team left Blazer Stadium Thursday night, a deafening silence filled the air, broken only in intervals by the joyful cries of Watkins Mill supporters. Blair continued its losing streak with a heartbreaking 20-13 loss to the Watkins Mill Wolverines. The loss marks the Blazers' third in a row, putting their record at 2-3 on the season.
"The offensive line blocked hard. The running backs ran hard," said head coach Adrian Kelly. "At this point, I feel bad for the kids. They wanted this game bad."
A fatal, game-changing mistake gave Watkins Mill the victory. With four minutes left in the fourth quarter and Blair clinging to a 13-12 lead, the Blazers took over on the Wolverines' 37-yard line. With the game nearly over, all the Blazers had to do was run out the clock. However, on first down, a botched handoff caused a bouncing fumble that was recovered by the Wolverines in Blazer territory. The critical turnover led to Watkins Mill's winning touchdown and two-point conversion.
Despite the loss, the Blazers gave a strong effort on the ground against the Wolverines, rushing for a total of 118 yards. Sophomore sensation Clifford Gossin, who was sidelined for the last six minutes of the game with a foot injury, ran for more than 60 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in a losing effort.
The team also made a point of airing it out in their fifth game of the season, as freshman quarterback Terrance Kelly Jr. went 2-for-8 for nearly 50 yards. On the last play of the game, Kelly Jr, threw an interception on a deep ball, sealing the Blazers' fate.
Watkins Mill's first scoring drive featured several plays out of the shotgun formation, including a 33-yard pass completed down the right sideline, on which a Wolverines wide receiver made a spectacular leaping grab. The pass set up a two-yard touchdown run on a quarterback rollout that fooled the Blazers' defense. A blocked extra point made the score 6-0.
Blair answered with less than four minutes to go in the second quarter, constructing a 47-yard scoring drive. On a key fourth down with seven yards to go, Kelly, Jr. completed a pass up the middle down to the Wolverines' 20-yard line. On the very next play, Gossin took the handoff and found a huge hole, allowing him to burn Watkins Mill for a long touchdown run. Blair's extra point attempt was also blocked, tying the game at 6-6.
After taking over on their own 15-yard line with little more than three minutes to play in the first half, Watkins Mill picked apart the Blazers' defense with five straight completed passes, including another long bomb, this time a 37-yarder. With just over 30 seconds left in the half, the Wolverines pounded the ball in from three yards out, giving them a 12-6 lead going into halftime.
The Blazers came out strong in the second half, driving 90 yards on 14 plays for a touchdown. Kelly, Jr. completed his second pass of the game for 23 yards on a key third down. After a committee of running backs led the offense to inside the Wolverines' ten-yard line, Gossin got the ball from 5 yards out and popped outside for his second touchdown of the game. After the execution of the extra point, the Blazers took the lead for the first time in the game, 13-12.
Blair's defense, led by sophomore Rex Jarrett's hard hits, held tough, stopping the Wolverines on two consecutive drives and giving the offense the ball back on Watkins Mill's 37-yard line. With four minutes to go in the game, Blair coughed up the football and gave Watkins Mill another chance to score.
After driving from the Blazers' 40-yard line, the Wolverines found themselves facing a third down and goal to go from the 14-yard line after a false start penalty. The Wolverines quarterback, again out of the shotgun, took it himself, running left. But as Blair's defense closed in on the falling runner, he flipped the ball over his head to a wide-open running back, who waltzed into the end zone to put the Wolverines up, 18-13. Watkins Mill then went for two and was successful, leaving the Blazers stunned and down 20-13 with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter.
Back on offense for a final time, the Blazers' Kelly Jr. aired out two incomplete Hail Mary passes and then was picked off by a Watkins Mill defensive back, ending the Blazers' hopes of a victory.
The demoralizing loss put a bitter taste in the mouth of Coach Kelly, who pointed to the loss of Gossin late in the fourth quarter as a big factor in how the game played out. "To be honest, I feel like if Clifford hadn't have gone down [with the injury], it might not have turned out the same way," said Kelly.
JV Football's next game is October 15 at 10:00 a.m. at Wheaton.
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 »