Special to The Gardner News
It has been a trademark of recent Gardner Edgerton teams to bounce back from tough losses with impressive wins.
That certainly was the case Friday night when the Blazers entertained Blue Valley Northwest-a tough EKL foe who was coming off a victory over Aquinas in the season opener.
GE used the running prowess of Traevohn Wrench, a stellar passing game, and a defense that forced three turnovers to thump the Huskies 49-27, erasing some of the sting of last week’s loss to Blue Valley.
Wrench showed why he is one of the top backs in the area by rushing for 265 yards and five touchdowns. The first of those scores came on a 38-yard scamper which culminated a three play 62-yard drive at the six minute mark of the opening stanza. The other big play on the drive was a 19-yard aerial from Jared Hobbe to Josh Lang.
That pair would hook-up again on the next Blazer score when Hobbe found his Lang in the end zone from 14 yards out midway through the second quarter. Tim Mitchell’s extra point put the Blazers up 14-0.
GE added to that lead when Wrench scored on a 35-yard run with 41 seconds to play in the period. Northwest answered that score with a TD of their own, using three consecutive pass completions to find the end zone just nine seconds before the break. That late score cut the Blazer lead to 21-7.
Until that last drive, the Blazer defense had played very well, allowing just 18 yards rushing and 85 yards through the air.
In the second half, defensive coordinator Kris Henry’s unit asserted themselves early when Dustin Williams recovered a fumble on the Huskies first drive. Two plays later Hobbe found his favorite target Lang, this time on a 25-yard TD strike to push the lead to 28-7 with 10:29 to play in the third quarter.
It would not take long for the Blazers to pad that advantage. A short punt gave GE great field position in Northwest Territory. One play later it was Wrench scooting 43 yards to paydirt to give the Blazers a commanding 35-7 lead at the 8:42 mark of the third stanza.
But it wasn’t over. The Huskies sandwiched two scores around a GE fumble to cut the advantage to 35-20 with 11:55 remaining in the affair. After the second of those scores, Northwest successfully executed an onside kick, giving themselves excellent field position and a chance to make a game of this. Fortunately the Blazer defense made the play of the game when junior Seth Pesek intercepted a pass deep in enemy territory and then rambled 81 yards to the Huskie four yard line. One play later it was Wrench going in for six, giving GE some breathing room at 42-20.
Michael Corrales’ interception on the next Northwest drive set up the final Blazer touchdown- a five yard Wrench run to the promised land. Two plays before the score, Hobbe found his favorite target-Lang-once again on a 38-yard pass and run. Lang finished the game with four catches for 98-yards and two touchdowns. Hobbe was six of nine through the air for 121 yards. Deontre Kendrick had the other two catches.
The Blazer running game totaled 323 yards for the contest. Besides Wrench’s team-leading 265 yards, JaylonRadel added 34 yards, Anthony Smartt had 11 yards, and Marshall Wade, Anthony Cisneros and Colten Mullin all had five yards on the night.
Defensively, Blake Goff played well from his defensive end position, Brett Goetzman was all over the field at linebacker and defensive backs Carson Hobby, Tommy McLennon, and Corrales made some crushing hits on the Northwest receiving corps. Linemen Logan Powell, and Emilio Fowler put pressure on the passer all night and Pesek not only had the big interception return but also stopped the outside running game on numerous occasions.
Head coach Marvin Diener was happy with the win but he is looking for more consistency.
“The boys played hard and when things went well they went very, very well. We were just disjointed at times and will have to be more consistent with our play. We did make the plays we needed to win both offensively and defensively,” said the Blazer coach.
Next action for GE will be Friday September 20 when they visit Blue Valley Southwest. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.