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SILVER SPRING — In a 20-0 shutout victory, the Blair Blazers varsity football team won their homecoming game and sent the visiting Einstein Titans home with a stinging loss.
Both teams came in looking to change course. Einstein came off of a shutout win last week and sought to keep the momentum going, while Blair looked to forget a harsh 40-14 loss at the hands of the Paint Branch Panthers.
“It’s just a team effort, you know. Coaches always preparing us each week too, and always getting better,” said senior Blazers quarterback Pablo Perez.
The Blazers’ first drive was a close call for the Titans, as it took them from their own half to the 10-yard line until Einstein recovered a fumble by senior running back Brandon Ntankeu.
A stifled Einstein offense was stalled against Blair, and the recovered fumble was turned over on downs. A shanked punt led to a Blazers drive that threatened the Titans but ended short at the 16-yard line.
The first drive in the second quarter ended in a touchdown for Blair, as they trudged to a first-and-goal where Ntankeu ran two yards for the score. Senior kicker Riccardo Morri made the extra point attempt to put the Blazers up by seven points before the end of the half.
In one of the longest drives of the game, the Titans fought past penalties, both theirs and the Blazers’, to get within three yards of the end zone.
Senior Einstein quarterback David Sandiford tried to connect with senior running back Kuran Prather for a short scoring dash, but Sandiford was sacked on third-and-goal at the four-yard line and fumbled. Blair recovered it and the drive was for naught.
To switch it up, Einstein sophomore Michael Olawoyan was put in as quarterback for a stint in the third quarter, but to no avail. Accuracy plagued the Titans’ gunslingers, and clutch passes died as incomplete throws.
“They’re a tough football team,” said Titans head coach Mike Bonavia of the Blazers. “They beat us on both sides of the ball and we need to find our identity as a team here, and we have five weeks to do it.”
A red zone pass from Perez to senior wide receiver Marcelle Sandjong in the third quarter, plus another good Morri kick, had the Blazers leading by 14 in the third quarter.
In the final seconds of the game, Ntankeu rushed for 38 yards to score the last touchdown of the game.
A win is a win for the Blazers, but for their head coach Andrew Fields it could have been better.
“Very, very ugly. Ugly offense, ugly defense, ugly officiating, across the board, it was very ugly,” said Fields.