The Blake family didn’t just think what happened Friday night in Chatham was unlikely.
“Three years ago we’d have never thought this was possible,” said St. Anne’s-Belfield coach John Blake. “As a dad, it’s awesome.”
Three years ago, Blake’s son Patrick Blake, then a young quarterback, was ruled out of playing football for the most part because of a series of concussions. But his doctor said if he didn’t have a concussion for three years, they’d re-evaluate him and make a call. Meanwhile, Patrick carved out a spot for himself as the team’s placekicker.
Earlier this year, the Blakes decided it wasn’t worth the risk despite a clean run. But the first week of practice this season, Patrick changed his mind.
And that’s how Friday night happened as Patrick Blake played quarterback in a game for the first time in four years and threw for four touchdowns, completed six of his 10 attempts and helped lead STAB to a 43-14 victory over Hargrave Military Academy in the Saints’ season opener.
“The first week of the season he said ‘I’m calling (his doctor)’,” John Blake said. “He felt strongly about it.”
Upon getting clearance and deciding to play, Patrick became part of an open competition for the Saints’ quarterback job, and Campbell Miller actually got the start against the Tigers, with the plan being to alternate between Blake and Miller with a dash of Bobby Nicholson thrown in there.
Miller played the first drive and then Blake took over. He tossed two of his four touchdown passes in the first quarter and both went to Miller, who finished with two touchdowns on three catches for 31 yards.
“He knows enough about the game, he knows how to play the game and he’s throwing the heck out of the ball,” John Blake said.
Blake threw another touchdown early in the second quarter, this time 24 yards to Jalen Harrison and he added his fourth in the third quarter to Chris Barry from the five. In between, Nicholson scored from 10 yards out late in the second quarter. By halftime, STAB was rolling 29-0.
Of course Blake got a lot of help from the ground game as STAB’s one-two punch of John Woodson and Javon Johnson emerged as a dangerous backfield tandem against the Tigers. Woodson rushed for 106 yards on 10 touches while Johnson picked up 111 yards on six carried including a 64-yard fourth quarter touchdown run.
“We have so many athletes and so much speed,” Blake said. “Everything went well.”
The STAB defense held Hargrave to 141 yards of total offense and just four first downs. The Tigers went 0-for-10 on third down conversions.
STAB will look to make it two in a row next week when the Saints take on Christchurch on the road on Saturday.