Blue Valley Tigers (5-1) vs. Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers (0-6)
Overland Park, Kansas
Blue Valley District Stadium
Friday Oct. 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Tonight, the Blue Valley Tigers quest for the playoffs begins with the Trailblazers of Gardner-Edgerton rolling into town. The KSHSAA playoff system deems that the opponents in a team’s final three games will be used as playoff qualifiers. Blue Valley’s opponents, Gardner-Edgerton, Olathe South and Blue Valley Northwest, as well as the Tigers themselves, have been placed into Kansas 6A District 2. The two teams in the district with the best record and point differential will advance to the playoffs.
Gardner Edgerton —
The Trailblazers have hit rock bottom — putting it nicely. Gardner has yet to win a game this season, sitting at the cellar of the EKL with an 0-6 record. The Trailblazers struggled on both sides of the ball, having been outscored 225-82 on the season. The most recent blow came last week, with the Trailblazers losing hard at home to Blue Valley North by the score of 31-15, the first Mustang victory in 20 games. The Trailblazers begin their attempt at salvaging the season tonight, with the beginning of playoff qualifying.
Blue Valley —
The Tigers came through with a clutch road victory against Saint Thomas Aquinas. In a grinder of a game, the both defenses dominated throughout. Junior running back AJ Totta racked up 194 yards on the ground, but three quarters of football yielded only 7 points for the Tiger offense. In the fourth quarter, the Tiger offense got the job done with senior tight end Braydon Huschka and junior quarterback Colton McCumber plowing into the endzone for touchdowns. The defense held strong, and Blue Valley emerged victorious, 21-14. The Tigers will face an important EKL showdown tonight.
What to watch for — Gardner on fourth downs
In past years, Gardner coach Marvin Diener has been known for his reluctance to punt. Fourth down has been just another down to the Trailblazers. However, with Gardner having a chance to turn its season around and have a chance to qualify for the playoffs with a victory tonight, it remains to be seen whether the Trailblazers will play with risk or play it safe. With a strong Tiger defense, Diener may be facing plenty of those decisions tonight.
Tigers will win if — They possess the ball and force turnovers. Gardner’s porous defense has allowed over 30 points a game this season and against the Tigers powerful running game, will see little change. The Trailblazers will allow plenty of points tonight. But if the Tigers can consistently take the ball away from the Trailblazers, tonight will be a rout.
With point differential potentially determining a playoff berth in the KSHSAA System, the Tigers will be relentless tonight. Every point matters, and Blue Valley will be going for the biggest punch on the scoreboard. A weak Gardner defense will be no match for the Tigers, and this one could get ugly early. If the Tigers play efficient football, this game won’t even be close.
Blue Valley 42, Gardner 7
Those numbers in itself tell a story.
The final score-line reads of one of the most dominant, ruthless, and merciless executions of the game of football ever to take place at Blue Valley. The Trailblazers of Gardner-Edgerton never had a chance.
Coming into the game a miserable 0-6, the Tigers smelled blood.
With the playoff qualification beginning at kickoff, Blue Valley was going for the biggest win possible.
And a big win they found.
In the first quarter, the Tigers found pay dirt three times. Junior running back AJ Totta and sophomore running back Will Evans plowed into the end-zone.
At halftime, with the Tigers dominating the action in more ways than one, the game was all but over, with the scoreboard reading 42-7.
The defense had suffocated Gardner into submission, and the Trailblazers somberly trotted into the locker room.
However, with point differential being a determining factor in playoff qualification, the Tigers weren’t letting up a bit.
Instead, Blue Valley ceased to throw the ball, and pounded it on the ground time and time again.
All in all, nine different players would get to carry the ball, for a grand total of 462 rushing yards.
The offense rounded up 70 total points in a night to remember. The team achieved 19 first downs, and the defense forced two turnovers.
While the game was never in doubt, the team continued playing efficient and exciting football throughout the second half.
Heading into next week’s important matchup with the talented Olathe South Falcons, Friday night was an important boost in confidence and momentum.
After Gardner scored two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the scoreboard told the final story; 70-20.