Special to The Gardner News
Dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, Blue Valley upended Gardner Edgerton 28-0 in the 2013 season opening clash between two EKL titans.
The Tiger offensive line protected the quarterback well and provided huge running lanes while their defense made a living in the Blazer backfield all night.
GEHS was also hurt by two huge first half turnovers and mistakes in special teams play.
The first of those mistakes came when a bad snap in punt formation occurred on the Blazers second drive in the contest, giving the Tigers great field position on the GE 32. Eight plays later-the crucial one being a 12-yard pass and catch on a fourth and nine-BV found the end zone on a five yard run by Chance Nelson to go up 7-0 late in the first stanza.
The next miscue by the Blazers would prove to be the pivotal play in the game.
Early in the second quarter, GE’s Colton Mullin made a tremendous hustle-play on the punt team, recovering a fumble on the Tiger ten-yard line. After an offside penalty on Blue Valley moved the ball five yards closer, Wrench took it down to the two. Then disaster struck. On the next play, GE coughed the ball up on the one yard line, ruining a tremendous chance to tie the score and give themselves some needed momentum.
Instead it was the Tigers who would take control, going on a 15-play 99- yard drive to pay dirt, increasing their lead to 14-0 with 4:12 left in the half.
That was still plenty of time for GE with its explosive playmakers like Wrench, quarterback Jared Hobby, fullback Marshall Wade, and wide outs Jaylon Radel and Deontre Kendrick to get on the board and make a game of it.
Instead a crushing fumble on the Blazers next drive would lead to another short-field TD by the Tigers. BV only needed one play after the turnover to score-a 48-yard run by Nelson-to up the advantage to 21-0 which is the way the half ended.
The final two quarters were competitive but Blue Valley was just too tough up-front for GE to sustain anything close to a scoring drive. Fullback Wade made some nice runs on an inside trap play and Radel showed why he is one of the top wide outs in the Kansas City area-catching five aerials and also making an impressive run on a reverse in the fourth quarter. In addition, Kendrick, Anthony Smartt, and Josh Lang made catches in the passing game with quarterback Hobby ending up with ten completions for 72 yards.
Wrench finished with 75 yards on the ground with a 33-yard scamper on the Blazers’ first possession being his longest run of the night. His effort was good enough to break the school rushing record- a record he will certainly add to in the upcoming weeks.
Defensively, the Blazers hung tough most of the night and played hard the entire affair. Standing out for the unit was Tommy Mclennan from his secondary spot and linemen Logan Powell and Emilio Fowler.
Next week GE will continue its run through the EKL gauntlet by hosting Blue Valley Northwest. Game time is 7 p.m.