Special to The Gardner News
Gardner Edgerton took a big step toward a state playoff berth by dismantling Olathe South 52-7 in the opening district contest played at Olathe District Stadium on Oct. 19.
The Blazer defense was oh, so close to pitching a shutout, giving up only a fourth period touchdown after the game had already been decided. While Kris Henry’s crew did give up some yards, they were marvelous on fourth down and forced three turnovers.
Offensively, the GE juggernaut was clicking on all cylinders, rolling up 528 yards and producing scores on eight of 10 possessions.
The first of those scores came from Traevohn Wrench on a 43-yard run with less than a minute gone in the game. That scoring play was preceded by a 22-yard aerial strike from Jared Hobby to Josh Lang.
After South was thwarted on a fourth and short from their own 35 on the following possession, it wouldn’t take long for the Blazers to find paydirt again when Wrench capped a ten play drive with a one yard run with 5:07 remaining in the first stanza. The biggest play on the drive came when Hobby hooked up with Deontre Kendrick on a 20-yard pass.
GE added one more TD before the period would end- a scintillating 67-yard scamper from Wrench-which gave them a 19-0 lead.
The Blazers kept the heat on in the second quarter, forcing a turnover on the defensive side of the ball- a fumble recovery from Brett Goetzmann-and scoring two more touchdowns before the break. Wrench scored on a nine yard run at the 10:53 mark of the second stanza at the end of a 5-play drive that also featured big plays by Jaylon Radel on a 15-yard run and Lang who caught another of Hobby’s beautifully-thrown aerials for a 39-yard gain.
Marshall Wade would then put an exclamation point on the first half with a 3 yard TD run with just 27 seconds remaining before the intermission. That score put GE up 33-0 on a proud Sunflower League Program that won the state title two seasons ago and features the state’s top player in linemen Braden Smith.
The second half was more of the same for the Blazers –a defense that made big plays on fourth down and forced turnovers and an unstoppable offense led by touchdown machine Wrench-he finished with six on the night and rushed for 240 yards on 24 totes.
Wrench’s second half scores both came on 1-yard runs in the third quarter. The first of those touchdowns was again set up by a great pass from Hobby to his favorite target, Lang. That 39-yard strike was part of an 8 for 11, 156 yard performance by the senior signal caller who continues to impress.
After Wrench’s TD made it 40-0, Seth Pesek had a leaping interception to give the ball right back to his surging offense. It wouldn’t take long for the lead to balloon to an eye-popping 47-0 when Wrench scored again with 3:59 to play in the third.
Pesek was one of many standouts for Henry’s improving defensive corp. Tommy McLennan played well from his defensive back position and Justin Periman, Emilio Fowler, Logan Powell, Dustin Williams, and Jacob Moore all merit mention for outstanding games as well. Austin Gardner recovered a second half fumble-the third turnover forced by this hard-hitting unit.
The fourth quarter would belong to the GE second unit and they continued the same excellent performance of the first teamers Anthony Smartt, Colten Mullin, and Jaden Pearson-Bruce all had some nice carriers in the stanza and Anthony Cisneros had a 17-yard TD run to account for the 52-7 final.
Now 6-1 on the year, the Blazers will return home for their second district contest when they face Olathe North- Game time is 7 p.m. on October 25.