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Big second half pushes Germantown Academy past Blair Academy

WHITEMARSH >> As time expired in a tightly-contested first half, Blair Academy’s Moussa Kane – surrounded by three defenders – made a juggling reception on a deep throw by quarterback Micah Balzarini and raced away to a go-ahead, 60-yard touchdown.

The play, which put the Bucs ahead 12-7 at the half, did not break Germantown Academy.

Instead, the Patriots used it as a springboard for a dominant second-half performance.

“I’m really impressed with the way they came out (after the break) because that last play – (Kane) is a player,” GA coach Matt Dence said. “The quarterback’s a good player and they have a good o-line. They have good players.

“That play at the end of the half could have sunk us. But we came out, came down the field and scored. And we got some turnovers. Our defense played great.”

The Patriots outscored visiting Blair Academy (N.J.) 28-0 in the second half, pulling away to an impressive 35-12 victory to raise its record to 4-0.

Evan Spivey (8) and the GA defense shut out quarterback Micah Balzarini (9) and the Blair offense in the second half of their non-league battle. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

“We knew what we had to do coming out of the half,” said Evan Spivey, a major catalyst on both sides of the ball for GA. “We had to keep our energy up. We had to come out with intensity and that’s what we did. We had a very good week at practice and that showed today.”

Spivey caught a touchdown pass and also took an interception back for a score, quarterback Tristian Machado threw four TD passes and racked up 239 yards through the air, and the GA defense played inspired ball, with Anthony Lara coming up with two interceptions and the front line allowing just 38 yards on the ground.

“I said that’s a team that’s probably very similar to what we’ll face in (InterAc play),” Dence said. “They’re really strong, well-coached, with a lot of older kids. So to beat them by three scores (is a good sign).”

Germantown Academy coach Matt Dence talks to his team after its win over Blair Academy on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

A perfect blend of run and pass marked GA’s first possession of the third quarter, with Spivey gathering in a 15-yard strike by Machado for the go-ahead score. Machado then threw to Spivey for two, and GA was in front for good, 15-12.

“Tristian is one of the best quarterbacks in the area,” said Spivey, who caught four balls for 44 yards.

Machado found five different receivers on the day, including Aidan Donahue, who finished with 100 yards receiving. The two hooked up for a 42-yard score, increasing the Patriot lead to 22-12 with four minutes to go in the third.

Before the quarter was over, Machado threw his fourth TD pass of the contest, hitting a streaking A.J. Towsen in stride down the left sideline for a 33-yard score and a comfy 29-12 lead entering the fourth.

“I thought our pass blocking was well improved in the second half,” Dence said.

With its defense locking things down, GA put the game out of reach when Spivey took an interception back 70 yards for a 35-12 Patriot lead.

“Always good to be 4-0,” Spivey said. “That was a big second half.”

GA quarterback Tristian Machado looks downfield against Blair Academy. Machado threw four TD passes in the win. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

After Blair took an early 6-0 lead on an 11-yard run by Yaneik Gallego, the Patriots pushed in front, 7-6, on a Machado-to-Donahue connection for seven yards with just 18 seconds to go in the second quarter.

The Bucs scored on the final play of the half but it was all GA from there.

Germantown Academy 35,

Blair Academy 12

Blair 6 6 0 0 – 12

GA 0 7 22 6 – 35

First Quarter

B – Yaneik Gallego 11 run (kick failed), 4:50.

Second Quarter

GA – Aidan Donahue 7 pass from Tristian Machado (Cole Grim kick), :18.

B – Moussa Kane 60 pass from Micah Balzarini (pass failed), :00.

Third Quarter

GA – Evan Spivey 15 pass from Machado (Spivey pass from Machado), 9:37.

GA – Donahue 42 pass from Machado (Grim kick), 4:03.

GA – A.J. Towsen 33 pass from Machado (Grim kick), 1:47.

Fourth Quarter

GA – Spivey 70 interception return (run failed), 11:41.

B              GA

First Downs                  16              19

Rushes-yards               22-38         29-139

Passing (c-a-i)              20-38-3      17-27-0

Passing Yards              281             239

Total Yards                   319             378

Punts                           5                 4

Penalties-yards            2-15             7-70

Fumbles-lost                3-1               2-1

Rushing

B: Carson Bowman 2-6; Yaneik Gallego 12-52, TD; Micah Balzarini 6(-21); Richard Hosein 1-(-1); Brayden Phinney 1-2.

GA: Tripp Capers 7-35; Seamus Knox 8-45; Spivey 4-8; Machado 3-18; Anthony Lara 7-33.

Passing

B: Balzarini 20-38-281-1-3.

GA: Machado 17-27-239-4-0.

Receiving

B: Kane 6-125, TD; Bowman 2-26; Gallego 4-37; Robert Walker 2-17; Phinney 2-28; Hosein 4-48.

GA: Donahue 7-100, 2 TD; Knox 1-20; Spivey 4-44, TD; Aidan Zakarewicz 2-14; A.J. Towsen 4-61, TD.

Interceptions

GA: Spivey; Lara 2.

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