Sunday, April 21, 2024

Football Preview: Blair Academy

Blair Head Coach Greg Bowman briefs his Buccaneers at pre-season practice. Photo by Joe Phalon, 8/2023.

The Blair Academy Buccaneers finished strong in 2022 with a four-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 145-23. Blair had a remarkable mid-season reversal of fortune having preceded their streak with a four- game dive, being outscored not dissimilar 149-46.

Head Coach Greg Bowman believes that momentum will carry the Bucs into the 2023 season. “We have a lot of core pieces returning,” Bowman said, including starting quarterback Micah Balzarini.

Linemen practice at Blair Academy. Photo by Joe Phalon, 8/2023.

Despite losing 11 players to graduation from last year’s squad, Bowman believes his incoming seniors will fill the void. In addition, to Balarini, Bowman said running backs Yaniek Gallego and Braydon Phinney, along with wide receiver Rob Walker and lineman Demi Atere had a good amount of playing time last year as juniors.

Assistant Coach gives valuable insight to players. Photo by J. Phalon, 8/2023

“The juniors last year had a lot of time on the field,” Bowman said. That continuity, he hopes, will translate into a continuation of last season’s drive.

Bowman said he is not making major changes to his game plan for 2023. He made most of his tweaks, particularly to the offense, mid-season last year, and with the number of returning players on the squad, believes that will carry through.

In the upcoming season, Bowman said he is confident in young receivers he has at the varsity level this year. Several also had significant playing time last year.

BLAIR ACADEMY FOOTBALL 2023

9-9 Springside Chestnut Academy 2 p.m. Away

9-15 KIPP Cooper Norcross 7 p.m. Home

9-23 Germantown Academy 4:30 p.m. Home

9-30 Episcopal Academy 5 p.m. Home 10-7 Hun 2 p.m. Away

10-14 Kiski 12 p.m. Away 10-21 Hill School 4:30 p.m. Home

10-28 Wyoming Seminary 2 p.m. Away

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.