The Blair Academy Buccaneers overwhelmed KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in a 51-6 blowout in their home opener September 16 but a week later fell to Germantown in a game of attrition 24-10.
The victory over Cooper Norcross was particularly notable considering the Bucs the previous week, in a case of scoreboard whiplash, had bowed 40-0 to Springside Chestnut Hill Academy resulting in an overall 85-point improvement in one week.
“We said all week we wanted to take steps and get better,” Greg Bowman, Blair head coach, said after the Cooper Norcross game.
Bowman said he made no significant changes to their game from the previous week. Rather, the team focused on tightening their existing game.
“We didn’t change really anything. We just tried to focus on getting better at the fundamentals and getting better at execution of the basics, blocking and tackling,” Bowman said. “We weren’t very good in either of those things, the hard to win football game if you don’t block and tackle,” he said about the Springside Chestnut Hill game.
Blair jumped out to a 44-0 lead before halftime, including passing touchdowns from quarterback Micah Balzarini to Yaniek Gellego, Noah Abbott, and Brayden Phinney, who scored two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Carson Bowman ran back an interception 33 yards for a touchdown, and Abbott capped off his day with a touchdown run of 24 yards and an 80-yard punt return. The following week, the Bucs lost some of that mojo in a 24-10 loss to Germantown Academy.
“We had some costly penalties and they made plays when they needed to make plays and we didn’t help ourselves with the penalties,” Bowman said after the Germantown game. “To their credit they executed and made plays.”
Both teams held the other to a single field goal, Jack Armbruster booting one for Blair in the second quarter. That score held for the first half and most of the third quarter when Germantown scored with just minutes left. They quickly racked up two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Blair answered with a fourth quarter touchdown of their own with an 18-yard pass from Balzarini Luke Dale.
Joe Phalon, 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.