GERMANTOWN – After losing to Northwest two years in a row, Blair upset the 2013 and 2014 4A state champion on the Jaguars’ home field Friday night, 40-36, in a seesaw shootout.
“I feel great because we’re down across the county and no one thought we would win besides us. I credit my whole line and my whole team,” said Blair senior running back Eric Zokouri, who scored the Blazers’ second touchdown.
Northwest seemed to take control of the game in the first quarter when senior running back Khalil Owens scored the opening touchdown.
However, Blair senior quarterback Desmond Colby made the best of back-to-back turnovers with a 10-yard touchdown strike to senior running back Clifford Carter, knotting the game at 7-7 with three minutes left in the first quarter.
It turned out to be the first of four touchdown passes from Colby and one of two touchdown receptions. Carter.
“It felt great to put the team on my back but it was a team sport,” Carter said
The Blazers captured the lead when Zokouri made a one-yard carry into the end zone with nine minutes left in the first half.
“It just pushed us even harder because (when) one team scores you just want to come back and score again, just keep coming back, play football (and) play smart,” Zokouri said.
Northwest came back, however, when junior quarterback Chris Craddock picked up 50 yards on a completed pass to Owens, who later plowed into the end zone on a two-yard carry to tie the game again at 14-14.
Northwest junior middle linebacker Greg Bullard said Owens’ performance as well as that of other players was no surprise to him.
“Those are guys that are at every single workout, they put on their grind, I’m not surprised that they’re doing what they’re doing right now,” Bullard said.
Blair senior fullback Anthony Aquino broke the deadlock with an 18-yard reception into the end zone putting Blair back in the lead with 21 to 14 with six minutes left in the first half.
Northwest responded with another touchdown shortly after with junior running back Juwon Farri running an 18-yard carry into the end zone with three minutes before halftime.
The back-and-forth scoring continued when Blair took the lead back only two minutes later on a 62-yard scamper from Aquino, putting Blair up 28-21 heading into halftime.
Blair’s Head Coach Andrew Fields said the Blazers changed their offense in the third quarter, slowing down the tempo but still making a few mistakes.
“(In the) third quarter I thought we were reaching a little too much. But we got our feet back under us late in the third and we kind of got back to our game plan,” Fields said.
The Jaguars made the first touchdown of the second half with a one-yard carry by Craddock after Farri picked up several first downs. Northwest Head Coach Mike Neubeiser tried for the lead and it worked as the Jaguars scored on a two-point conversion to take a 29-28 lead.
Owens built out the lead to 36-28 with his third touchdown of the day, this time on a 10-yard carry.
Yet Blair refused to lose.
About a minute later, Blair senior wide receiver Christopher Butler caught a 35-yard pass, setting up Colby to hit senior wide receiver Ponce Deleon with a 10-yard touchdown pass. However, Northwest’s defense collapsed on Blair during a failed two-point conversion attempt
Carter scored the last touchdown for the Blazers with four minutes left in the game after catching a 28-yard pass.
Neubeiser told his team they need to fix their mistakes and have a lot of work ahead of them in the coming week..
“I think running the ball, we ran the ball fairly well. We just couldn’t get (the) first downs we needed to at the end and I give (Blair) credit. They’re a good football team and did a great job on both sides of the ball,” Neubeiser said.