Special to The Gardner News
Dominating in all three phases of the game, Gardner Edgerton blasted Pittsburg 49-0 in the opening game of 5A district play on Oct. 15.
The ‘Blazer offense scored on four of their five first half possessions as they went up 35-7 at the intermission.
GE then put the game away with two scores early in the second half, going up 49-7 with just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The ‘Blazers then subbed liberally the rest of the way as they cruised to the 49-14 triumph.
Bubba Starling led the scoring parade with three rushing TDs and one touchdown aerial to junior wideout Ryan Goetzman.
Starling finished with 135 yards on the ground on just eight carries and also completed six of 10 passes for 110 yards.
In addition to Goetzman’s touchdown grab, Alex Knorr, Ryan Weber and Tyler Stubler each made catches in the contest.
Weber also had a rushing touchdown from two yards out, part of his nine carry 75-yard effort. Brett Jensen and Austin Goldsmith had the other two scores.
Jensen, who finished the game with 68 yards on nine carries, had a two-yard run to paydirt while Goldsmith’s TD came on a scintillating 55-yard punt return.
The GE special teams were superb in the affair. Besides the Goldsmith TD, set up by tremendous blocking, Chase Lee was a perfect seven-for-seven on extra points. In addition, the kickoff coverage team – led by Tim Seymour, Matt Plank, Jeff Ragland and Brent Bovitz – kept the Purple Dragons bottled up all night and delivered crushing hits on every return.
Not to be outdone, the GE defense turned in quite a game as well. Coach Kris Henry’s unit forced five turnovers – fumble recoveries by Knorr and Chris Martin and interceptions by Goldsmith, Ryan Newhouse and Deion Shump – and had at least five quarterback sacks in the game.
The defensive line of Jimmy Orwick, Carlton Ridley, Kyle Pacheco and Dan Mauszycki not only pressured the passer but they did a decent job of stopping the run as well, limiting the Purple Dragons to under four yards per rushing attempt.
“This was a good win for us. We were sharp on both offense and defense and our special teams were very good. We played very physical on both sides of the ball and came out of the game with no major injuries,” head coach Marvin Diener said.
Now Diener and his top-ranked and undefeated squad will turn their preparation for their next district game at home with Saint Thomas Aquinas. The ‘Blazers and the Saints have developed quite a rivalry over the past several years.
This contest will be televised nationally by ESPNU.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the USD 231 district stadium.
Organizers anticipate a large crowd, so school officials are asking fans to get to the game early.