Voorhees senior tight end Jake Blazovic has been playing the line since he was wearing the blue and white of the Hunterdon Huskies Pop Warner team.
Back then he centered for North Hunterdon quarterback Marc Monks before the two split to rival district schools.
Blazovic is still something of a lineman though now — as a hybrid lineman — he still blocks, but also gets to do fun stuff tight ends are qualified for like catching passes.
He caught a 39-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Charlie Rodenberger for a touchdown Friday night late in the third quarter against Somerville to break a 7-7 tie and spark a 27-14 win. Blazovic, who made four receptions for about 70 yards, is the Courier News Football Player of the Week.
“We’re spreading it out a little bit now and Jake has been getting some man-to-man coverage,” said Voorhees coach Bob Angstadt.
“At 6-foot-1 he’s an excellent target, soft hands and runs good routes in space,” Angstadt added.
The adjustment has helped the defending Mid-State 38 Mountain Division champions stay in the race and maintain the drive to repeat last year’s winning season.
Blazovic started the scoring Oct. 4 in the first period against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, catching a 9-yard pass from Rodenberger in what would end in a 42-21 win.
“I really didn’t catch many balls, and I didn’t have a catch last year, so catching the touchdowns passes are big,” said Blazovic, also a defensive end. “I’ve been open.”
Blazovic was split wide and senior Chris Okulicz lined up in the slot with Dale Hull and Mike Scott doing the same on the other side against Somerville. Blazovic ran a slant and Rodenberger found him without too much traffic in the end zone. Blazovic was the planned top option on the play, Angstadt said. Rodenberger was 8-for-11 for 124 yards.
“The linebacker almost got his hand on it, but I was able to concentrate and catch it,” he said.
That wasn’t a concern for him last season when he was merely a sixth lineman, blocking in an offense driven by the run.
“We wanted to improve (the passing game) and we worked on it over the summer,” Angstadt said.
That also featured the audition for role of starting quarterback with Cole Branch and Rodenberger the contestants. Rodenberger won out with Branch moving to wide receiver and continuing his job in calling the defense where Blazovic has been very effective, Angstadt said.