Gardner rolls past Bonner Springs

Angie Plank/Plank Photography

By Shawn Roney Special to PrepsKC
Posted: November 11, 2011 - 6:55 AM

Gardner Edgerton knew that running the football would be the key to defeating Bonner Springs Friday night, according to sophomore running back Traevohn Wrench.
Wrench ran the ball well enough to not only help the Trailblazers crush the Braves 76-40 in Kansas Class 5A regional action at Bonner Springs, but also finish with a school-record 456 yards and seven touchdowns.
Wrench credited his big night to his linemen.
“They weren’t hesitating,” he said. “They knew that they had to block and they did their job. And I did mine.”
Wrench also credited Gardner Edgerton’s coaching staff with preparing the Trailblazers for Bonner Springs. Knowing the Braves would stack eight defensive players in the box, the Trailblazers tried to create running seams for Wrench up the middle and space on the perimeter with their blocking schemes, according to Trailblazers coach Marvin Diener.
“That happened and he was gone,” Diener said.
Indeed, Wrench repeatedly zipped through openings for long gains. Of his seven touchdowns, five were on runs of 20-plus yards, including three of 50-plus yards.
“He’s awfully fast,” Diener said. “There’s no getting around (it). (He’s) F-A-S-T, fast.”
Wrench also impressed Braves coach Lucas Aslin, who placed Wrench among the top three running backs he had faced or worked with this season. Braves senior J.J. Jackson and Schlagle’s J’veyon Browning were the other two.
“He’s got a chance to be really, really special,” Aslin said.
But it wasn’t Wrench who kick-started the rout. Rather, it was Justin Long, who returned a blocked punt for a touchdown on the opening possession.
“We’ve blocked so many kicks this year,” Diener said. “I’ve never been around anything like it.”
The Trailblazers would block another punt – after Wrench and the offensive line got rolling. Capitalizing on a missed 24-yard field goal, Gardner Edgerton launched a seven-play, 80-yard drive, capped by Wrench’s 3-yard TD run and 2-point conversion run with 3:33 left in the first quarter. Wrench then ripped off a 75-yard TD run and Chase Lee contributed an extra-point kick to make it 21-7 Trailblazers with 34 seconds left.
Gardner Edgerton then scored on three-straight second-quarter possessions before Luis Avila returned a blocked punt 19-yards for a touchdown. Wrench then ripped off a 51-yard TD run and Lee booted another point after with 4:37 left for the last of Gardner Edgerton’s 55 first-half points.
The Braves cut it to 55-20 at halftime by scoring on their last two first-half possessions. Jackson’s 2-yard TD run and Nate Mitchell’s point after with 2:06 left capped an eight-play, 73-yard drive. A fumble recovery then set up Jordan Jackson’s 27-yard TD pass to Stevie Williams with 21 seconds left.
Wrench’s 50-yard run on the second half’s first play from scrimmage set up his 28-yard TD run and Lee’s point after with 11:28 left in the third quarter. Bonner Springs answered with a nine-play, 94-yard scoring drive, capped by Jordan Jackson’s 55-yard TD pass to Williams with 8:12 left.
The Trailblazers scored on their next two possessions to build a 76-26 lead and secure a running clock for the final 15:32. The Braves made the final score closer by scoring on both of their fourth-quarter possessions.
For the Braves, who finished 6-4, facing the Trailblazers allowed them to see the type of program they hope to become.
“It’s going to take us three or four years of (being in the) weight room and a lot of different things to get to that point,” Aslin said. “Like I told the seniors in there (in the locker room), ‘You guys are the reason we’re going to be good here in three or four years.’ We’ve just got to keep building on that.”
For Gardner Edgerton (7-3), the 36-point victory set up a quarterfinal meeting this Friday night with visiting Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights (5-5), which edged Mill Valley 15-7 in regional action.
“We’ll see them on film and see what they’re like,” Wrench said.
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