By Mark Schremmer for Kpreps.com
Posted: September 7, 2012 - 12:18 AM
As teams prepare for Week 2 of the football season, film of the upcoming opponent’s first game is vital. With personnel and formation changes from the year before, it is the only opportunity to assess what the opponent will look like this season.
In the case of Gardner-Edgerton and Bishop Miege, however, that Week 1 footage is likely less valuable than usual.
The Trailblazers and Stags, who will butt heads Friday in the Kpreps.com Game of the Week, played their opening games in rainy and windy conditions. The weather limited both offenses and forced each team to run only a fraction of what they had planned.
“Assessments of the first week are pretty sketchy,” Gardner-Edgerton coach Marvin Diener said. “You’re able to see alignments and it gives you a chance to look at personnel, but they probably ran a little more than they would have. They are very capable of throwing the ball well.”
Class 5A’s No. 2-ranked Bishop Miege Stags beat Blue Valley North 35-8, while Class 6A’s No. 4-ranked Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers held on to beat Blue Valley 8-6.
“You know the weather changed the things they wanted to do,” said Bishop Miege coach Jon Holmes, who took over head coaching duties after Tim Grunhard accepted a coaching position at The University of Kansas. “The things we can get from the film is personnel and formations. And we’ve watched a lot of film on them from last year.”
Gardner-Edgerton, which is expected to have a high-scoring offense after putting up 33.1 points per game last season, struggled to get anything going against Blue Valley. After sophomore Anthony Smartt opened the game with a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the Trailblazers registered only 58 yards of offense and three first downs for the game.
Since the weather limited the Trailblazers’ ability to throw the ball, Blue Valley stacked the box against highly-touted running back Traevohn Wrench. The Gardner-Edgerton junior rushed for nearly 2,500 yards last season but was limited to about 30 yards on 23 carries against Blue Valley.
Despite the poor numbers in the opener, Bishop Miege knows Wrench is more than capable of having a big game.
“Our No. 1 goal on defense is to stop Wrench,” Holmes said. “He has the ability to change the course of the game. If one guy on defense doesn’t do their assignment, he’ll make you pay. He’ll turn a two-yard gain into a 50-yard run.”
Gardner-Edgerton will try to do more in the passing game this week in order to give Wrench some breathing room. Trailblazers quarterback Jared Hobby was held to 7 of 19 passing for 35 yards and an interception against Blue Valley.
“I really like our ability to throw the football,” Diener said. “To be able to run the football the way we want to, we will need to be able to throw. Jared’s very capable.”
Bishop Miege also has an extremely capable quarterback in senior Montell Cozart, who has verbally committed to play for KU. Even with the weather, Cozart completed 5 of 9 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in the win against Blue Valley North.
The Trailblazers’ know Cozart’s ability all too well. Cozart, who passed for nearly 2,500 yards last season, threw for 230 yards and four touchdowns in a 34-0 win against Gardner-Edgerton.
“He’s very athletic,” Diener said. “Besides being able to throw the ball very accurately, he’s also very dangerous when he puts the ball down and runs.”
Gardner-Edgerton moved up to Class 6A this season, so the matchup at Bishop Miege doesn’t have the same state implications as it has had in the past. However, that doesn’t stop both teams from considering this a crucial game in the Eastern Kansas League.
“We find this to be a huge game,” Holmes said. “We were able to come in and beat them last year. I know this is a game they’ve had circled on their schedule. We would love to come in here and do what we did last year. We want to win our league. We haven’t done that since 1994. Our top goal right now is to win our league, then we’ll move on to state.”