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One step forward, two back for Blazers

September 16, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

CLEAR SPRING - In Clear Spring, sometimes grains of sand feel like boulders.

And for the Blazers, that makes for Princess and the Pea football. The smallest incident becomes a real pain in the girdle pad.

For every step Clear Spring seemed to take forward, something happened to send the Blazers two strides back in key situations, resulting in a 22-6 loss to Westmar on Friday.

"We have only 19 players," Clear Spring coach John Wilson said. "When you have so few numbers, it makes all the mistakes stick out more."

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The Blazers moved the ball in the middle of the field against Westmar, but when they needed a clutch play, it became an act of sputtering and muttering.

"Little mistakes here ... little mistakes there," Wilson said. "Because we are a small team, we try to rotate players in and we get little mistakes from guys who aren't used to playing the positions."

Westmar's Adam Kolberg scored two touchdowns - one on a fluky tipped-pass catch in the back of the end zone at the end of the first half, the other on a zig-zag 31-yard run in the fourth quarter - to lead the Wildcats. Quarterback Jeremy Shingler added a 8-yard keeper to give Westmar a 16-0 lead late in the third quarter.

Shingler's score seemed to inspire the Blazers down the comeback trail.

Clear Spring immediately answered with a 5-yard touchdown run by Dan Jarvis to cut the deficit to 10.

Then the breakdowns halted the Blazers' progress and gave the Wildcats many a second chance, despite being whistled for 13 penalties for 105 yards.

Westmar found the cracks in Clear Spring's wall and drove a wedge in it to take away the victory.

"One person doesn't see another and it was a communication breakdown," Wilson said. "It was caused because of the offense they run and we had to do some tweaking of our defense."

The two teams slogged in the middle of the field for most of the first half, blowing key chances to get on the scoreboard first.

Clear Spring missed a prime opportunity at the Wildcats 11 when Westmar's Travis Wilson picked off a Steve Munson pass in the end zone on the first play of the second quarter.

"We called a play-action pass," Wilson said. "One player goes the right way, it's a touchdown. He went the wrong way and it was an interception."

Westmar got the 8-0 halftime lead by taking advantage of Clear Spring's secondary. After cashing in on a couple of long completions, Shingler rolled left on a third-and-goal from the 18 and fired to Marcus Stuart on the goal line with John Mason defending.

The ball deflected into the air and Kolberg swooped in at the back of the end zone to make the catch for the touchdown and the 8-0 lead with 6.2 seconds remaining in the half.

After Westmar turned a Clear Spring fumble into Shingler's touchdown, the Blazers looked as if they got some fire. Clear Spring aggressively drove for Jarvis' score and started to shut down Westmar with sacks to start to turn the tide.

But the tide went low before it went high for the Blazers.

Westmar finished with 290 yards of offense, led by running back Kaleb Smith's 99 yards rushing and Shingler's 181 yards passing. Clear Spring managed 152 yards of offense, paced by Munson's 106 yards passing, despite three interceptions.

"There were a lot of positives to build on," Wilson said. "We aren't making the same mistakes twice. We are learning from them. Now we have to keep growing."

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