Football Mid-Season Update

Five games into the season, the Blazers’ football team has endured many mishaps, from injured players to game losses. Alternating to their third-string quarterback Jake McClure and switching many other players around, the Blazers began to see small pockets of success at last Friday’s homecoming game. Going from a four-game losing streak to having their first win against Olathe Northwest last Friday night, their record is now 1-4.

Taking a critical hit during the season-opening home game against Mill Valley on Sept. 3, starting quarterback and junior Conner Elder had received a season-ending injury after tearing his ACL and spraining his meniscus in the first quarter, which left the backup quarterback, a sophomore, Colton Hawkinson, to carry the offense through the rest of the game. 

However, a second injury occurred in that short span. Hawkinson was hit by Mill Valley’s defense and received a non-season-ending knee injury. The game terminated with a score of 35 for the Jaguars and 14 for the Blazers. Putting the Blazers in a complicated position, figuring out how to manage, head coach Jesse Owen made the decision to move their senior athlete Jake McClure who plays many positions on offense and defense to predominantly quarterback moving forward.

“I played quarterback my freshmen year, and I haven’t since then, and it was the same kind of offense since freshman year. I’m used to it, the only difference is not playing it for only two years,” McClure said. “I was running back at the beginning of the season, the running back and the quarterback both run the ball a lot. The only thing is hitting the ball from the center.” 

The following week on Sept 10. The Blazers traveled to the Olathe North Eagle’s field to face off. As McClure took on his first game as quarterback, the rest of the team put in their best effort to beat the opposing team. The Blazers fought hard but the game came to an end of 47 for the Eagles and 0 for the Blazers. Even with these early struggles, McClure maintained hope moving forward.

“Coach Owen builds us up, he lets us know when we do something wrong but he also compliments us when we do the right thing. We trust him,” McClure said.

The Blazers took on Olathe South on Sept. 17. Starting the game with possession, the Blazers’ main fullback, a senior, Carter Dewey, ran the ball constantly through the middle in dive blocking scheme for the first touchdown of the game. A kick return was sent back to the Falcons, placing them on the 40-yard line. Senior running back, Tyler Butash, who was recently injured, was able to participate and bring major aid to the Blazers during the match, but was taken out before the first half concluded as his knee injury resurfaced after a major hit by the Falcons. The game came to an end with the score of 34, Falcons, and 30, the Blazers. The blazer kept practicing with their heads held high and an optimistic spirit.

“I am very proud of our guys and their attitude, and their work ethic, so that part of it I’m very pleased with and if we can sustain that, and keep our morale up we’ll be okay,” Coach Owen said.

The Blazers then traveled to Lawerence to take on the Lawrence Freestate Firebirds. It was a brutal match for both teams but the end score came to be 21 for the Firebirds, and 13 for the Blazers.

The Blazers hosted the next game at home and went to war with the Olathe Northwest Ravens for homecoming. Both teams fought to their greatest ability with a tied score of 21 for both at the end of the first half. During the halftime show homecoming king and queen, Jake McClure and Kenadi Crowder were announced as the royal winners. The Blazers came out during the second half and pounded salt through the Ravens’ defense which gave them great success. The Blazers broke their four-game losing streak after conquering the Ravens with a score of 35 to 28. The Blazers await to travel to Shawnee Misson North high school to play the Bisons on Oct. 8.