Traevohn Wrench said it was more of a request than a demand, but however you label it, he asked the Gardner Edgerton coaches Saturday if they would consider trying him out on defense. The thought of facing Blue Valley West quarterback Ryan Ralston and the Jaguars’ pass-heavy attack was intriguing, he said.
The coaches opted not to listen. Good thing, too.
Wrench did plenty of work offensively, rushing for 200 yards and scoring three touchdowns. And the Gardner Edgerton defense did just fine without him, using a pair of crucial fourth-quarter stops to preserve a 27-24 win Saturday afternoon against BV West at the Blue Valley District Activities Complex.
“I was just seeing if the coach would bite, but he didn’t,” Wrench said. “I’m happy he didn’t. Our ‘D’ stepped up big and got us the win this game.”
Well, Wrench did his part, too.
Wrench, the Trailblazers’ tailback and a KU commit, scored three times in the opening half as his team built a 10-point lead. Wrench rushed for 171 yards before the break, including 60 on the opening drive.
He did his work early. The defense made its stands late.
BV West began its final drive in Trailblazers’ territory with 1:35 to play, but Gardner Edgerton forced four consecutive incomplete passes to clinch the victory and remain atop the Eastern Kansas League standings.
On its previous drive, BV West elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 20-yard line. That didn’t work either. Gardner Edgerton linebacker Dustin Williams stuffed Ralston on a quarterback keeper.
“I knew he was going to run up the middle, so I read it really fast and got through there before he could get to the line of scrimmage,” Williams said.
Blue Valley West coach Scott Wright expressed regret in his decision to go for it on fourth down with seven minutes remaining. Jaguars kicker Troy Burgett successfully kicked a 24-yard field goal in the first half.
“This one’s on me,” Wright said. “I should’ve kicked the field goal.”
Nevertheless, BV West, 3-2, still had one final chance in enemy territory before Ralston fired those four straight incomplete passes. He completed only 12 of 29 throws for 143 yards.
He did, however, picked up the slack in the running game after tailback Jon Reams injured his right shin. Ralston ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns in the second half after totaling just 4 yards before halftime.
It still wasn’t enough.
Gardner Edgerton, 4-1, and Bishop Miege are the only one-loss teams in the Eastern Kansas League. Gardner Edgerton, though, holds that tiebreaker after handing the Stags a 56-51 loss last week.
Not a bad spot to be for a team that lost 28-0 on opening week.
“What’s really rewarding about it is the defense was out there making the last stand, and the week before it was the offense,” Gardner Edgerton coach Marvin Diener said. “For us to be as good as we need to be, it has to be both sides for us. To play two (high-)quality teams like we did and have both sides step up in crucial moments is enormous for us.”