Special To The Gardner News
Despite a dominant team rushing performance, the Gardner-Edgerton High School football team fell victim to their own errors Friday night, collecting 9 penalties — 4 of them personal fouls — costing 74 yards, and falling to Mill Valley, 35-21, in the Trail Blazers’ final home contest of the season.
The Blazers saw two of their running backs rush for over 100 yards and the team collect 320 rushing yards total, but the team could not overcome costly penalties at crucial times.
Gardner-Edgerton’s Senior Night home contest started auspiciously, with the Blazer defense holding the Jaguars to three-and-outs on their first two possessions. The Jaguars then flexed their offensive muscle on their second possession. GEHS marched 65 yards on 6 plays and punctuated their drive when senior tailback Keegan Michael barrelled in from the 10-yard line. Michael’s score and the ensuing PAT by senior kicker Leon Gaeta gave the Trail Blazers a 7-0 lead with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter,
Mill Valley answered on their next possession when Senior quarterback Brody Flaming connected with junior wide receiver Logan Talley on a 35-yard scoring strike to pull the score even at 7-7 with 1:24 left in the first period.
That’s when the Blazers See PENALTIES, page 5
From PENALTIES, page 4
flashed their big play ability. On Gardner-Edgerton’s very next play from scrimmage, sophomore quarterback Tyler Goetzmann found junior tight end/running back Luke Jennings wide open sprinting down the middle of the field. The two combine for a 70-yard touchdown pass and reception to put GEHS right back on top, 14-7, with 1:13 left in the quarter.
The defense ended the first quarter by again holding Mill Valley to a three-and-out, and the offense began moving the ball at the beginning of the second frame, before eventually turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 38.
Mill Valley then displayed their aerial prowess when Flaming connected with senior wide receiver Evan Rice for a 49-yard strike, tying the game at 14-14 with 7:39 left in the half.
The Blazers then went on a time-eating drive and appeared poised to score another go-ahead touchdown with a 3rd-and-5 at the Mill Valley 9-yard line. But Goetzmann was sacked with a loss of 7 yards, and — after a GEHS timeout with 14 seconds remaining — the Trail Blazers faced 4th-and-12 at the 16. The Blazers elected to for the touchdown, but the pass to junior tight end Gage Gulley was just out of his reach, and the teams went into halftime deadlocked.
The Trail Blazers opened the second half in textbook fashion, engaging on another time-consuming drive. The GEHS offense drove 73 yards on 14 plays and ate up 6:53 of the clock, all culminating in a Goetzmann 2-yard scoring plunge that put Gardner-Edgerton up 21-14 with 5:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Yet the Jaguars once again struck quickly. With 3:50 left in the period, Mill Valley junior running back Cameron Young took the inside handoff and burst through the right side of the line, speeding 49 yards for the touchdown. However, the Jaguar PAT was unsuccessful, and the Trail Blazers still held a 21-20 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Blazers responded by once again marching into Mill Valley territory before turning the ball over on downs at the Jaguar 34.
The Jaguars began moving the ball offensively with their first possession of the 4th quarter, earning a 1st-and-goal at the Trail Blazer 3-yard line. However, junior linebackers Jonah May and Corbin Moore combined on a 6-yard sack of Flaming, and the Blazers appeared to force Flaming to throw the ball away on 2nd down, but a roughing-the-passer penalty on the GEHS defense gave Mill Valley new life. Young then scored his second TD of the night when he scampered in from 4 yards out. The Jaguars converted the two-point play afterwards and took a 28-21 lead with 10:35 remaining in the contest.
A holding penalty contributed to the Blazers going 3-and-out on their next possession, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against GEHS on the Jaguars’ next possession put Mill Valley at the Gardner-Edgerton 3. Young soon afterward scored from 2 yards out and the visitors led 35-21 with 6:38 left.
The Blazers moved the ball efficiently on their final possession but were once again encumbered with a personal foul penalty that moved them back 15 yards early on the drive. The offense continued to make progress but could not break through with the big gainer they needed, ending the game possessing the ball at the Mill Valley 28.
Though enduring a loss that moved them to 0-8 on the season, the Trail Blazers again recorded commanding offensive numbers. For the third straight game, junior tailback Baylor Maxwell ran for over 140 yards, collecting 142 rush yards on 28 carries (5.1 yards per carry), while also catching 2 passes for 12 receiving yards. Michael joined Maxwell as a 100-yard rusher on the night, racking up 116 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. Jensen rushed for 53 yards on 11 carries, while also hauling in one reception for 70 yards and a touchdown.