MURFREESBORO — A first-half shootout turned into a second-half special teams bonanza as Blackman won a wild one at Siegel Friday night.
The Blaze got a career night from running back Taeler Dowdy and two more big special teams plays from Blake Taylor in a 55-30 victory over the Stars.
Dowdy carried 22 times for 281 yards and scored touchdowns of 5, 66, and 22 yards.
“We expected Siegel to play their best game. We knew it was going to be something like that,” Dowdy said. “I think we played better the second half. We played Blackman football.”
And the special teams plays helped set the tone.
Taylor, who entered the game with four field goal blocks and two punt blocks, had a 15-yard scoop and score on a high punt snap after Siegel’s (0-8, 0-5 in Region 2-6A) second series of the half, and followed it up by blocking Jacob Smith’s 33-yard field goal attempt on an ensuing 10-play drive.
“We knew our defense wasn’t playing up to what we really can, and I was just trying to make a play for our defense so we could get back on a roll,” Taylor said. “(After the plays) it was a gigantic shift. Our defense started believing again, and we started playing up to our potential that we know we can and we played better.”
Smith did finish the night with field goals of 33, 44, and 27 yards and hit all three point-after attempts.
Miller Armstrong opened with an 80-yard TD pass to Amauri Burks on Blackman’s (6-2, 4-1) first play from scrimmage. Armstrong added a 15-yard keeper as he rushed for 95 yards to go with 153 yards passing.
Each team scored on its first three drives as they combined for 61 points and 778 yards of offense in the first half before the final tally of 85 points and 1,176 yards.
Siegel’s Ricco Gregory entered the night with eight catches on the year and pulled in circus catch after circus catch on the way to nine grabs for 239 yards and a 48-yard score from quarterback Jordan Middleton, who was 14-of-25 for 305 yards with no interceptions and a 27-yard TD to Deontae Newsome.
“It was all about (Middleton). He and the line helped me,” Gregory said. “I was just focused to the game. Greedy Howse was already having a monster game” (15 for 145) before exiting 10 plays into the second quarter with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the game.
“Everything changed (when Howse went out),” Gregory said. “The offense changed a lot, so I had to just take it over.”