Hart running back Ethan Blair showcases abilities in season-opening loss

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By Jacob H. Pollon

For The Signal

The Hart and Downey football programs have had quite a nice little rivalry going for the past few years.

The 2018 installment went to Downey Friday night after a 33-21 nonleague victory. The Vikings scored on its opening drive and also scored in the waning seconds of the first half to extend the lead and gain valuable momentum heading into the locker room.

Downey had to hang on for dear life as Hart’s Ethan Blair took over in the second half with two big touchdowns. Blair got behind the secondary for 53-yard touchdown run from and later ran the ball in from three yards out to trim the deficit to 27-21.

Blair scored in the first quarter on a 5-yard run.

“Honestly, my line opened up some big holes,” Blair said. “We didn’t get off to a good start in the first half. We were more ourselves in the second half. Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way we wanted to at the end. We made a good comeback on those guys.”

With eight minutes remaining, Hart forced a Downey punt and took over only down six points trying to drive to go ahead. However, the Indians (0-1) turned the ball over on downs. Hart again had the ball but was forced to punt from its own 10-yard line with four minutes remaining.

Downey capitalized with the game’s final touchdown on a 24-yard pass play from Kijjon Foots to Noah Scobis with under one minute remaining.

He was all over the place with his arm and feet. Foots put Downey ahead 13-0 in the first quarter with a 17-yard pass to Daniel Ruiz.

Macolm Perry added two short touchdown runs for Downey, which always answered Hart’s scores in the second half.

“Hart is a well-coached team,” Downey coach Jack Williams said. “They made some adjustments and their big guys took care of our little guys on the line in the second half.”

“We were hungry and tightened things up in the second half,” Blair said. “It’s a young team. We have to focus on playing together and playing as a brotherhood. We just need more time as a team together. It will all come together.”

Hart beat Downey 38-14 in 2015 and 30-20 in 2016 before dropping last year’s game 42-35 in a shootout.

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