Special to the Gardner News
It was a serious case of déjà vu at USD 231 district stadium Friday night.
Just like in the season opener last week, Gardner Edgerton scored on an 80-yard run by Bubba Starling on the first play from scrimmage.
That scintillating scamper-part of a 503 yard rushing effort on the day-keyed a 52-18 triumph over Blue Valley North.
Starling, who would finish the game with 215 yards rushing and four TDs, wasn’t the only ‘Blazer who ran wild.
Senior running back Ryan Weber totaled 107 yards on just seven carries while fellow senior Brett Jensen ran for 111 yards on 13 totes.
Both Weber and Jensen each had a touchdown on impressive carries. Weber – Mr. Outside – executed a series of elusive moves on the way to a 25-yard dash to paydirt while Jensen – Mr. Inside – bulled his way to a 12-yard TD, leaving several Mustangs in his wake.
Starling’s four scores included not only the electrifying run on the first play of the game but also a 25-yard TD dash in which the All-American candidate bowled over a North defender.
That score put the ‘Blazers up 16-6 and came just before lightening postponed the game until Saturday afternoon.
When play resumed, the GE offense continued to rack up yards. The ‘Blazers did not punt once in the game and almost scored on every possession – an interception thwarted one drive deep in enemy territory and the team took a knee late in the game on the Mustang two.
The offensive line of Alex Knorr, Lucas Powell, Chris Martin, Cayden White, Greg Hopper and Mason Rogers was flat-out dominant. This seasoned group kept their intensity all game, blocking well for GE’s second group of backs-Clayton Dye, Tanner Webb, Austin Goldsmith, and Tim Seymour-who all ran impressively and almost scored. With the running game being so potent, the ‘Blazers did not have to pass often. Weber and Knorr had nice catches on early drives, and Tyler Stubler scored on a 5-yard aerial from Starling late in the contest.
While the game was never in doubt – GE led 30-6 at the half – North moved the ball. The stout GE front seven did almost completely shut out the Mustang ground attack, allowing just 23 yards on 15 carries.
Linebackers Brett Bovitz, Jeff Ragland and Garrett Schulz all played well against the run.
“Another good win for us. We were physical on both sides of the ball for the entire contest. Sometimes when the game is interrupted like that, its hard to keep your intensity but we had no problem with that,” Head Coach Marvin Diener said after the game.
The ‘Blazers – currently 2-0 and the top-ranked team in the state regardless of class – will have their toughest test of the year when they go on the road to face Bishop Miege on September 17.
The Stags are the defending 4A state champs and are also very highly ranked this year. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. in Kansas City, Kan. A huge crowd is expected.