Gardner-Edgerton tops Blue Valley NW in OT

By Andrew Robinson PrepsKC staff writer
Posted: October 7, 2016 - 11:05 PM

Gardner-Edgerton wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of it earning a 19-13 overtime victory over Eastern Kansas League counterpart Blue Valley Northwest on Friday night in Gardner.

Not four turnovers.

Not two big scoring plays from the Huskies (2-4, 2-4 EKL).

The Trailblazers’ defense stepped up when it needed to in crucial times, and the offense found ways to capitalize. It was no more evident in overtime.

Gardner-Edgerton (3-3, 3-3 EKL) senior running back Hunter Skeens scored on a five-yard touchdown run to seal the victory for the Trailblazers. He finished with 34 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns. Skeens found the end zone after the Trailblazers’ defense had forced the Huskies backwards on its first and only possession in overtime. Facing 3rd and 11, a group of Trailblazers sacked Blue Valley Northwest Jacob Clark to force a 31-yard field goal attempt that went wide left.

Three plays later, the Trailbazers clinched it.

“I’m really thrilled we won,” said Gardner-Edgerton coach Marvin Diener “It’s a huge game in regards to seeding in to the playoffs. It was a win we simply had to have and our kids played like that.”

Both teams were not without their opportunities in the second half, nor were they without some errors that could have swung the momentum either way.

“The thing that was most impressive for both teams is they both had tough plays go against them that could’ve taken them clear out of the game,” Diener said. “But when that happened, both them and us rallied and put things back together and made plays to put them back in the game.”

Down 7-0 early in the third quarter, the Huskies capitalized on a Trailblazer fumble deep in Blue Valley Northwest territory. Three plays later, after Clark fumbled a bad snap, he found senior wide receiver Riley Zerni wide open for a 78 yard touchdown on what became a broken play.

“We had a lot of opportunities and we did some really good things,” said Blue Valley Northwest coach Mike Zeguins. “Our defense gave us the ball in good field position but we didn’t do a good job of capitalizing on that. I never question the fight our kids have.”

Later in the quarter, with the Huskies driving deep, a fumbled snap would prove costly with Gardner-Edgerton recovering but the Trailblazers weren’t able to capitalize with points on the board.

The Trailblazers eventually took a 13-7 lead in the third quarter after senior quarterback Griffin Johns found junior receiver Jace Sprague on a 54-yard touchdown pass.

Blue Valley Northwest would answer one play later after senior running back Daeron Robinson would break off a 62-yard touchdown run. The Huskies’ two-point conversion attempt failed and the score remained tied at 13-13.

Gardner-Edgerton got the scoring started in the second quarter with a 9-yard touchdown rush from Skeens capping a 15-play, 88-yard drive. And while it was Skeens who scored both of the Trailblazers’ rushing touchdowns, it was junior running back Keegan Michael who paced the Gardner-Edgerton ground game with 142 yards on 33 carries.

“Keegan ran his butt off tonight,” Skeens said. “He was incredible. But as a senior, I had to get the job done when they were counting on me.”

The end of regulation wasn’t without drama. With Blue Valley Northwest facing a 3rd and 1, the Trailblazers’ defense snuffed out a quarterback sneak and the Huskies punted giving Gardner-Edgerton an opportunity for the game winning touchdown with 22 seconds left from their own 45. A 30-yard pass from Johns to senior wide receiver Zach Bass would get the Trailblazers down to the 10 yard line but just .05 seconds remain and the Trailblazers couldn’t get a snap off in time in an attempt to score before the end of regulation.

Blue Valley Northwest hosts Blue Valley next Friday at the Blue Valley District Activity Complex, while Gardner-Edgerton hosts Blue Valley West.