Pete Logan
The Gardner-Edgerton High School football team received multiple rushing contributions from multiple ballcarriers Friday night at Shawnee Mission South District Stadium, as they racked up 442 rushing yards in a dominating 49-23 victory over Shawnee Mission West.
After the game, GEHS head coach Ryan Cornelsen spoke about some of those contributors who were forced into action for the Blazers due to injuries to GEHS starters.
“We’ve got some guys hurt,” said Cornelsen. “We lost two tonight, and some guys had to get in and play. You know, that’s unfortunate, but those guys were ready to step up, and I was proud that they did a good job of being ready to play.”
The Trailblazers were ready to dominate from the beginning. AfterTrailblazer senior tailback TayeZhan Crough took the opening kickoff 42 yards to the Blazer 47-yard line, he struck again two plays later when he took a counter handoff off the right tackle and sprinted home 51 yards for a TD. Junior kicker Caleb Calvin nailed the extra point, and the Blazers took a 7-0 lead just 52 seconds into the contest.
The Gardner-Edgerton defense then held the Vikings to a three-and-out on their first possession, giving the Blazer offense the ball on their own 26 after a West punt. From there, the Blazers moved 74 yards on 7 plays. GEHS senior quarterback Teven McKelvey capped off the drive when he took a read-option carry around the left side of the Blazer line and scuttled home 36 yards for a touchdown. With the Calvin PAT, the Blazers led 14-0 with 5:36 left in the 1st quarter.
West then engaged on a drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal from senior kicker Ruben Anderson, pulling to within 14-3 with 2:58 left in the 1st period.
The Trailblazers retaliated with some quick-strike offense. A 4-play, 64-yard scoring drive was punctuated when senior fullback Keith Brown blasted into the end zone from 10 yards out, putting the Blazers up 21-3 with 1:23 left in the opening frame.
GEHS scored again on their second possession of the 2nd quarter. The Blazers went 53 yards on 7 plays and scored when McKelvey took a read option carry to the left, extricating himself from 2, what seemed to be, sure tackles by the Viking defense and rumble 6 yards for his 2nd touchdown of the night. The Calvin extra point put Gardner-Edgerton up 28-3 with 6:27 left in the half.
Another West three-and-out and a Viking punt later, Gardner-Edgerton took over in good field position on their own 42. Four plays later, sophomore tailback Tyler Butash — one of the reserves pulled up into starter service — took a veer right carry 23 yards into the end zone. Butash’s score put the Blazers up 35-3 with 3:08 left in the first half.
Two possessions later, West senior defensive tackle Edgar RayQuain intercepted a GEHS shovel pass. The pick and a personal foul penalty on the Blazers gave the Vikings the ball at the Blazer 38. Three plays later, West junior quarterback Weston Moore connected with senior wide receiver Wesley Clark for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left before halftime. However, the Vikings’ extra point snap was botched, keeping West to single digits at the half. The Trailblazers went into the break with a 35-9 lead.
West received the 2nd half kickoff and then went on a 6-play, 71-yard scoring drive that paid off when Moore threw up a jump ball pass from the 11 yard-line that Clark once again pulled down for a score. With the Anderson extra point, the Vikings had pulled to within 35-16 with 10:15 still left to play in the 3rd quarter.
Gardner-Edgerton responded with a methodical, 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Butash put the exclamation point of the drive when he took a counter handoff from the right side and slashed his was 4 yards into the end zone. Another Calvin extra point made the score 42-16 with 5:46 left in the third period.
The Trailblazers took off on their final scoring drive of the night after junior defensive back Ethan Reynolds intercepted a Moore pass, giving GEHS the ball on their own 36. Six plays later, Blazer senior fullback Trenton Bryan rumbled in from 9 yards out, putting Gardner-Edgerton up 49-16 with 1:42 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Vikings would score one final touchdown when senior tailback Treyvon Gilyard took a 14-yard run into the end zone late in the 4th quarter, but it was a case of too little too late. The Blazers came away with a 49-23 victory.
Crough led the Blazers in rushing for the day with 110 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries (18.3 yards per carry) but suffered an injury that caused him to leave the game in the 3rd quarter. Butash was the team’s second 100-yard rusher of the night with 107 yards and 2 TDs on 8 carries 13.4 yards per carry). McKelvey followed with 55 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 See BLAZERS, page 5
From BLAZERS, page 4
carries (11.0 ypc), Brown had 68 yards and 1 TD on 7 totes, senior fullback Jacob Butash rushed for 32 yards on 6 carries, sophomore tailback Garrett Bergman carried the ball 5 times for 31 yards, Bryan recorded 26 yards and 1 TD on 5 carries, while junior tailback Reggie Dennis had 1 tote for 16 yards.
Defensively, the Trailblazers were led by junior defensive lineman Caden Rodriguez who racked up a sack and 2 ½ tackles-for-loss. Senior linebacker recorded a sack and 2 tackles-for-loss, and senior defensive lineman Parker Cortner had 1 ½ tackles-for-loss.
The Trailblazers now enter the 1st round of the Kansas 6A football playoffs as the number one seed in the East bracket. GEHS will host their first playoff game this Friday at 7:00 P.M.