Blazers fail to comeback in a nerve-wracking home game
On Oct. 15, Blair’s Blazers (5-2) came up short in their last home game of a great season and were defeated by the undefeated Sherwood Warriors (7-0). With a crushing 26-28 loss, the Blazers remain in third place in the 4A North division.
The game started slowly in the first quarter for both teams offensively because of great defensive efforts on both sides. Blair needed to score first to spark the momentum that would help them take home their sixth win of the season. Senior linebacker Ryan Frank explained how important that first touchdown of the game was. “The first touchdown of the game can set the tone and pace for the rest of the game, but it still only is the first touchdown so the win isn’t guaranteed.”
As the first half ended, the Warriors began to pick up the pace, pressuring the Blazer’s defense. The Blazers eventually caved when Sherwood’s quarterback threw a huge 30-yard pass putting them in a prime position to score, which they did soon afterward with a rushing touchdown.
With the score at 0-7, Blair had to respond. When they got that ball back, they began to pick up the pace. Junior quarterback Kendell Anderson threw short but significant completed passes, which slowly advanced Blair towards the goal line. Junior running back Arnauld Tegom made it into the endzone with a rushing touchdown to make the score 6-7. Blair was unable to complete the extra point, representative of a pattern of special team mishaps that proved to be costly later on.
Sherwood took advantage of a short punt by Blair and maneuvered their way to the endzone with tactical blocks and speedy runs to make the score 6-14. This was yet another mistake by Blair’s special team, making it clear that the true difference in this game was the performance of both sides’ special teams.
Blair’s offense came out unfazed by Sherwood’s insane punt return. Junior wide receiver Jamall Worell caught a 10-yard touchdown pass over the Warrior defense to make the score 12-14.
While both teams refused to let the other pull away, Sherwood came into the second half with renewed fire. Sherwood’s quarterback made a particularly bold play with a 20-yard QB rush. On the following play, Sherwood’s quarterback ignored two open teammates for another QB rush and bulldozed his way into the endzone to make the score 21-12.
Sherwood scored again on their next possession with another rushing touchdown, and it started to seem like a Blazers comeback wasn’t a possibility with a score of 28-12. Worrell, however, explained that the team’s determination to win hadn’t been killed yet. “We knew the game wasn’t over. We’re a team that thrives during crunch time, and if it wasn’t for a couple of mistakes we definitely would’ve won that game,” he said.
Blair’s student section erupted with cheers of support when Blair got the ball back, and it was clear that the Blazers fed off the crowd's energy. Andersen completed a bomb of a pass to Worrell for a 60 yard gain with :54 left in the third, and senior running back Michael Dinkel finished the play with a rushing touchdown to make the score 28-20.
Blair’s defense reciprocated their offense’s energy on the field, coming out with a barrage of sacks and forcing the Sherwood offense to lose yardage on multiple plays. This solid defense forced Sherwood to punt; now, it was up to the offense to bring the game back into Blair's hands. The Blazers were officially back in it.
With 3:07 left in the final quarter, Blair snapped the ball, and Sherwood’s D-line began to close in on Andersen. Andersen managed to chuck a longball with the defense right on him and Worrell yanked down another touchdown pass to make the score 26-28.
Blair had to go for the two-point conversion since this would probably be their last possession of the game. In a nerve-wracking play, Blair faked a field goal, stunning the Sherwood defense, but failed to complete the two-point conversion with an overthrow by Andersen. Worrell characterized it as a “heart-breaking end” to their last home game of the season.
When Sherwood got the ball back, Blair’s defense tried valiantly to give their offense another chance, but the time on the clock wasn’t enough. Nosoff was also disappointed in the game’s outcome, and believed the real difference in Friday’s outcome was the mistakes made by Blair’s special team. “Special team made two or three mistakes today and that really defined the game,” he said.
Despite the loss, Nosoff was still proud of the team’s overall performance in the game, especially considering that Sherwood has the best record in the division. He believed the Blazers played extremely well and characterized the loss as a “minor speed bump” in a great season.
Samuale Asefa. Hello! My name is Sam and I'm a writer for SCO. I am a self-proclaimed movie buff and love listening to all types of music. More »