Falcons meet goals in Jamboree

WARDSVILLE — The Blair Oaks football team came into Friday night’s Jamboree with two goals. They left with two check marks next to those items on their to-do list.

The Jamboree, which featured Blair Oaks getting 18 plays on offense and 18 on defense against a pair of opponents, ended with the Falcons beating Centralia 12-6 and tying Helias at 12. But that was just window-dressing.

“We told our kids before tonight started we had two goals,” Blair Oaks coach Brad Drehle said. “No. 1 was to play every down as fast as we could play. If we do that, great things are going to happen, because we feel like we’ve got some kids who can play a little bit.

“And No. 2, we wanted to commit to playing for each other. Nobody is going to be selfish, we’re going to go out and play our butts off, and I think that’s what you saw.”

The second item was especially on display on the defensive side of the ball. In each portion of the event, the starters got nine snaps and the second-team got nine. Blair Oaks’ first-team defense didn’t get scored on against Centralia, then gave up just one score to Helias.

“The product of (playing for each other) is when you see them swarming to the football,” Drehle said. “We don’t care who gets him on the ground, we just want the guy (with the ball) on the ground.”

The situational scrimmage began with each team getting the ball at the opponent’s 40-yard line. First downs could prolong drives, while turnovers or turning it over on downs brought it back to the 40.

Blair Oaks started against Centralia and the Falcons’ defense allowed just 17 yards in nine plays. The Blair Oaks first-team offense then needed just five plays to score a touchdown, that coming on a 1-yard plunge by Caleb Bischoff.

The Falcons then gained 38 yards the second time around before running out of plays.

The second-team defense pitched a shutout before the second-team offense capped a six-play scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jake Van Ronzelen.

“Overall, our kids played extremely hard, and they played fast,” Drehle said. “They did a good job. I think you’re going to see us get better and better. When we get everybody on the field, we’ll be in good shape.”

Against the Panthers, the Falcons were 6-of-6 passing for 84 yards and had 10 carries for 54 yards. Jordan Hair led the passing attack by hitting on all four attempts for 59 yards.

The Falcons then took on Helias and the Crusaders’ first-teamers scored on the eighth of their nine plays.

But Blair Oaks came right back and after a 3-yard rush by Dominic Jamerson, Hair hit Jacob Wilbers with a 34-yard pass that set up a 3-yard scoring run by Bischoff.

Helias’ second-teamers scored on their final play, only to see Blair Oaks came back with a touchdown on their seventh play, a 35-yard strike from Van Ronzelen to Adam Schell.

The Falcons did lose three fumbles against Helias, something Drehle said has an easy fix.

“Tonight was about focus,” he said. “It’s the first time you’re in there.”

Blair Oaks won the day in another key category.

“We got out healthy, that’s the big piece,” he said. “It’s hard to take too much from a Jamboree, because nobody’s prepared. You don’t scouting report anybody. If you sit and watch film, I’m sure we’ve got tendencies, everybody does, and if you get that in the mix, I’m sure things change.”

That will start to change soon, as the Falcons kick off the season with a 7 p.m. game Friday against Moberly.

“Everything intensifies from here,” Drehle said. “You’re in this and you’re kind of looking at Moberly, you’re kind of still trying to fix yourself.

“Next week, our focus really turns to Moberly. Obviously there will be some things after we watch film that we’re going to want to address, but our big focus now becomes Moberly — what are they doing, who’s doing it, what tendencies do they have, what do we have to take away, and what do we want to do. That’s when it becomes fun, that’s the part that we wait for. It’s time.”

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