Blair Oaks attempting to ‘find a way’ to prepare (with PODCAST)

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Blair Oaks Week 2 Podcast

Sooner or later, the injuries have to stop racking up for the Blair Oaks Falcons.

Don’t they?

If they do, it wasn’t this past week, as the Falcons’ injury list continues to grow.

It’s getting so bad it’s having a trickle-down effect. Instead of playing JV and freshman games Tuesday, it was condensed into one. And while there were enough bodies for that, it left Blair Oaks short somewhere else.

“We sent 27 kids to the JV/freshman game, I had 14 walking wounded, and we have 57 kids, so that left me 16 at practice (Tuesday),” Blair Oaks coach Brad Drehle said. “So we just did a lot of half-line stuff.”

It brought to mind memories of Drehle’s high school days, when he played for his father.

“I talked to my dad (Tuesday) on the phone about this,” Drehle said. “In 1983, when I was at Norborne High School, we had 18 on the football team and we played for the Class 1 state championship. We went half-line all year long, and dad said, ‘Now you know what it was like, don’t you?’”

So the Falcons just worked on getting ready for Friday’s home game against Owensville as best they could.

“Our mantra is just, ‘Find a way.’ We’ve got to find a way to get better,” Drehle said “We’re going to break it down and do half of it and we’re going to get as good as we can, and then flip it over and do the other half.

“It’s like life. You can either sit and complain about it, or you can do something about it. It kind of defines who you are as a person.”

The latest Falcon hit by the injury bug is junior Alex Gaydos, who broke his ankle and is done for the year, as the backup running back is scheduled to have a plate and six screws put in during surgery set for Friday.

Then you consider starting running backs Caleb Bischoff and Dominic Jamerson are both questionable with bruises after taking helmets to the knee during Friday’s season-opening loss to Moberly.

“It will be a game-time decision (on both),” Drehle said. “We’ll see how well they can run and then see if we can spare them some reps here and there.”

Drehle added it’s like “robbing Peter to pay Paul,” as trying to move someone to running back could take them away from a position where they’re needed more.

“We’ve got a long list of guys we’re looking at and we’ll make some decisions,” he said. “The next two as far as position would be (Cole) Stockman and (Gavin) Herst, but there you’ve got two sophomores who are going to play every down on defense at linebacker. Then to ask them to play running back also, that’s a pretty tough chore. It just takes a physical and mental toll, and we need them defensively.

“C.J. (Closser) is a kid who may see some time back there. From there, it’s going to be mix and match. It’s just kind of crazy.”

After some early success running the ball until the injuries slowed them in the opener, Jordan Hair attempted 41 passes, as the Falcons racked up 238 of their 429 total yards through the air.

“Jordan’s done a good job, he’s learning fast,” Drehle said. “He’s done a good job of learning to cut the field in half by the initial alignment. He was able to get the ball out of his hand quickly and that helped. We spread it out and were able to get the edge.”

It will be a similar story this week, as the Falcons will look to use their speed to counteract a team with several sizable players.

“(Owensville has) some big ol’ kids and we’ve got to find ways to handle the size,” Drehle said. “We have to be able to get some angles on our blocks and get some double teams to take advantage of it on offense.

“From the defensive standpoint, we have to be able to get into the gaps and get after them a little bit. I don’t think we did a real good job of getting penetration against Moberly.”

While the Falcons handled Owensville 59-0 last season, it’s a different year. To hammer that point home, you need look no further than last week, when Owensville was close all game long before eventually falling 26-6 to St. Francis Borgia.

“Watching film and watching them do things, they’ve improved from last year to this year,” Drehle said. “Defensively, they run to the ball better than what they did, and offensively, they’ve got some kids who can make some plays.

“They made some plays here in the Jamboree against everybody. It’s just a matter of getting them tackled and getting them on the ground and then lining up and continuing to play. We need to make conditioning be a part of the game.”

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