Blaze finish off Firebirds

Blaze finish off Firebirds

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Blaze finish off Firebirds

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MURFREESBORO

Blackman coach Philip Shadowens didn’t make any defensive adjustments at halftime.

He just asked the Blaze to play as they had been instructed.

They obliged with a dominating second-half shutout to beat Pearl-Cohn 38-14 Friday night at The Inferno and remain undefeated.

“I thought in the first half we got away from being fundamental,” Shadowens said. “We’re trying to make a play on their quarterback, and then we get out of rushing lanes.

“We didn’t stay disciplined (in the first half). When you don’t stay discipline, bad things are going to happen.”

Blackman (2-0) led 14-0 on two Cole Notgrass touchdown runs before Pearl-Cohn (0-2) cut the lead in half with 5:47 left in the second quarter on Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s 8-yard TD run. Kyle Mincey’s 26-yard field goal made it 17-7, but the Firebirds marched 55 yards in six plays, cutting it to 17-14 on Deangelo Hogan’s 5-yard TD with 10.9 seconds left.

That marked the final time the Firebirds would get inside the Blaze 40-yard line.

After amassing 117 yards in the first half, Pearl-Cohn managed just 49 in the second half, thanks in part to a dominating defensive front that raised havoc on Firebirds sophomore quarterback Mario Gordon. Gordon struggled to find receivers in the second half and couldn’t get on track rushing the ball. He finished with 94 yards on 10-of-17 passing and had 7 yards rushing due to Blackman’s relentless run defense.

“I put the blame on myself,” Blackman defensive tackle Austin Singleton said. “I played horrible in the first half.

“The key was physical. Coach Shad came in and chewed us out, and got us fired up.”

Antonio Allen’s 2-yard TD run with 5:23 left in the third quarter extended the lead to 24-14. It came seven plays after Maison Baer’s interception near midfield. Baer also recovered a fumble on a punt in the game.

“We weren’t focused in the first half on our jobs,” Allen said. “The coaches came in and put down the game plan again, and we tried to execute the best possible way.”

Blackman finished with 238 yards rushing, led by Notgrass’ 104. Allen added 45 yards on six carries and Dee Mathers had 40 yards on nine carries.

“We feel like we have a lot of backs,” Shadowens said. “We have numerous fullbacks that stepped up (Friday). I think we have a lot of depth there. We’ll continue to play them all back there and try to keep them fresh.”

Junior Matt Williams tossed a 30-yard TD pass to Tyler Sells at the end of the third quarter before K.J. Wilkerson ended the scoring with a 3-yard TD run with 6:00 left. Ironically, Wilkerson didn’t even dress to start the game because he felt ill. But went out in the second half.

Williams finished 5-of-10 passing for 88 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He split time with Chase Smotherman.

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