It hasn’t taken long for “Gunnar Englund to Alec Dean” to develop a nice ring for SM East football fans.
[pullquote]Dustin Delaney on SM East’s first win of 2014
Click the arrow to hear SM East coach Dustin Delaney talk about the Lancers defense’s shut out of Gardner-Edgerton and the chemistry between quarterback Gunnar Englund and receiver Alec Dean.
[/pullquote]Nine months after they turned heads by hooking up for two touchdowns in the state title game against Derby, the quarterback-wideout tandem picked up right where they left off in Friday’s season opening game, connecting for three touchdowns in 40-0 rout of Gardner-Edgerton. Dean finished the night with four receptions for 149 yards. Englund finished the night completing six of ten passes for 209 yards and scoring on a goalline quarterback keeper in addition to his three throwing scores.
“Their connection’s real strong,” Lancers head coach Dustin Delaney said after the game. “Gunnar threw the ball well. Alec ran unbelievable routes and made great catches — especially on a third down when he kept one foot inbounds.”
Junior running back Wyatt Edmiston bolstered the Lancers’ offensive cause with two short-yardage touchdowns, finishing the night with 45 total yards. Junior Calvin Jones led the Lancers in running with 62 yards on 14 carries.
But the well-oiled mechanics of the offense were only part of the story Friday. The Lancers defense showed tremendous poise throughout the game, fending off Gardner-Edgerton’s offense every time it threatened to score. On two occassions, the Trailblazers drove inside the Lancers 10 yard line. Both times, the Lancers held strong and forced a turnover on downs.
“Anytime you hold Gardner Edgerton to zero points, and the caliber of players and offense they have, that’s pretty good,” Delaney said. “They were one of the best offenses in the state last year.”
The Lancers have made a habit of strong defensive showings in their season openers in recent history, having shut out their week one opponents each of the past three years, and five of the past seven. And a slow start isn’t unusual for Gardner-Edgerton. The Trailblazers got shut out in their season opener last season as well, only to rebound by ticking off eight wins in a row.
Gardner-Edgerton will need to show such resilience if the Trailblazers want to bounce back this week, when the team faces another strong northeast Johnson County opponent: Bishop Miege, which remains atop the state 4A rankings after disposing of Blue Valley Northwest Friday.
SM East will look to keep its momentum going Friday when it takes on SM South, which looked solid in a 41-12 win over SM North in week one.
(Lancer Gridiron Club videographer Brian Libeer’s recap of the week one victory is embedded below after the photos).