Special to The Gardner News
In their final tune-up before district play, Gardner Edgerton looked like a well-oiled machine in a 55-7 dismantling of Blue Valley North in a road contest played last Friday night.
After a sluggish start, the Blazers got on the board on a three-yard TD run by Traevohn Wrench at the 2:41 mark of the first quarter.
Wrench, who finished the game with 294 yards on the ground on 23 carries, is now playing at full strength after a painful toe injury slowed him early in the season.
The talented junior scored the second of his three T.D’s on a 43-yard run midway through the second stanza to put his team in front 14-0.
GE’s ball-hawking defense then took over, getting an interception from Matt Plank deep in enemy territory to thwart North’s next drive. Plank’s interception came just after he delivered a punishing hit on the Mustang quarterback.
On the subsequent Blazer possession, it would take only two plays to get a score. A long Wrench run gave GE a first down on the North 15. With North loaded up to stop the run, the Blazer coaching staff called for a play action pass. GE quarterback Jared Hobbe threw a strike to a wide open Josh Lang for a TD just before half to give the Blazers a commanding 21-0 lead at the break.
Hobbe had another good night throwing the ball, hitting seven of 12 passes for 110 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The talented junior signal caller would lead his team on TD drives on the first two possessions of the second half to put this game away.
Touchdown number one came from Wrench on a 60-yard TD scamper with less than two minutes gone in the third quarter. A surprise onside kick and recovery gave GE possession again and four plays later Marshall Wade took in from ten yards out to make the score 34-0.
Wade had another great game as did several other Blazers who are starting to assert themselves offensively to complement the big playmakers-Wrench and Hobbe. Jaylon Radel had four pass receptions for 26 yards and two carries for twelve yards and Jamain Lang added one catch for 15 yards.
The other Lang-tight end Josh- added his second TD reception on a 44-yard pass from Hobbe to put GE up 48-7 early in the fourth stanza. That score was preceded by a 98-yard interception return from Riley Craig late in the third quarter that pushed the lead to 41-7.
Craig’s interception was one of four turnovers forced by the Blazer defensive unit. Senior Denton Lawrence also added a pick and Plank had the earlier Oskie as well as a fumble recovery.
Also looking good on the defensive side of the ball were lineman Emilio Fowler who had two big first half sacks when the game was still in doubt, and Tommy McLennon , Maurice Murphy, Dustin Williams and Trey Smith who all played very well in the secondary, delivering punishing hits and not allowing any big plays from a North that is very talented and had the potential to strike from anywhere on the field with their powerful passing attack. Linebackers Boston Scott and Dalton Kirk as well as linemen Max Knorr, Connor Knorr, and Logan Powell were also part of that great defensive effort.
GE added a late TD to account for the 55-7 final when the second unit scored on an Anthony Smartt 30 yard TD run. Another Anthony-Cisneros-also had some impressive runs late in the game for the second offense.
When asked after the game if it was a statement win, Blazer head coach Marvin Diener said, “Absolutely; North has not been blown out all year and has a victory over Blue Valley Southwest (a team that beat GE) and gave Aquinas all they wanted last week before a close loss. We played very well on the offensive end and I was especially impressed with our blocking on the edge. Defensively we gave up a lot of passing yards but that was OK-we were in a zone defense to prevent the big play and we didn’t give up any.”
The Blazers next game is a big one. GE will start district play by hosting Olathe South-the defending state champion-for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Oct. 12. The homecoming tilt will be televised by Metro Sports.