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Blair caps off historic season, career

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@wabashplaindealer.com

Carson Blair spent his childhood watching many versions of Southwood football teams battle on Wagoner Field.

Now, Blair walks off the field as one of the greatest to wear a Knights jersey.

Not only did Blair lead Southwood to back-to-back sectional titles and a Three Rivers Conference championship in his senior year, he completely rewrote the record books in doing so.

“It’s nice just to look back and know that we’re back-to-back sectional champs and everything,” Blair said. “I put up pretty good numbers and I’m just glad we had a bond as a team this year and had a lot of fun.”

Blair finished with better than “pretty good” numbers in his final year as a Knight. The signal-caller completed 62.9 percent of his passes on the season for 3,926 yards and 57 touchdowns, each of those marks ranking him first in school history.

And he did it all while throwing just three interceptions on the season.

“Coming into this year, I just wanted to improve on everything individually,” Blair said. “Our goal all along as a team was to win sectional again and see what we could do from there. And we got the conference (championship) to go along with it. I thought it would go like that a little bit. I’m glad we got it done.”

Blair’s name is etched across the record books now as he ranks first in career and single-season pass completions, completion percentage, passing yardage and passing touchdowns.

He also set the single-game mark for passing yards while tying the single-game touchdowns record this season in the Knights’ conference championship game win over Northfield, a contest where he finished 16-for-28 for 457 yards and six touchdowns.

Blair led the Knights to the most prolific season in school history, finishing first in school history in total team offense, total touchdowns, total points and yards per game.

Southwood also set single-game records in touchdowns and points in the team’s 70-14 win over Fremont in the opening week of the sectional.

As historic a season Blair had individually, team success has always ranked higher and the Knights had plenty of that this season, finishing 11-2 while winning their first conference title since 2002 and their first back-to-back sectional titles since 1991.

“It’s definitely the team,” Blair said when asked which matters more to him. “We’ve worked hard since the beginning of summer going to weights every morning. Everything as a team, it’s just better. I feel like you don’t play for individual stuff, you play for the team (to) win games and championships.”

Blair’s figures not only set school marks, it also reached high up the state record books as well. Blair’s 9,843 career passing yards rank sixth in state history while his nearly 4,000 yards this season are ninth most.

For Blair, finding himself high upon state and school lists was something he knew he was capable of, but the achievement is not lost on him.

“I was kind of hoping it would,” he said when asked if he ever expected his career to unfold the way it did. “I knew what I could do, I knew what I was capable of and I knew the work I was going to put in. I felt like I could have done all the things I did and I’m happy with what I did.

“It means a lot. Just looking down the line at all the great teams we’ve had, all the great players and to see my name up there with them, that’s just really special for me. As a kid watching Southwood football and now (my name) being up there, that’s pretty special.”

Blair has begun racking up individual accolades as well this season. First, he was named the Wabash County Player of the Year by the four coaches in the county, his second consecutive season winning the award.

“I have respect for all the coaches in the county and everything and I’m glad that they chose for me,” he said. “I’m glad that they recognized what I did this year and I’m thankful that they did and I’m glad I could win it.”

At the state level, Blair was named to the Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) Class 1A All-State team as a quarterback. While the senior was not named as one of the three finalists for the Mr. Football award, he was named in an October article by the Indianapolis Star as one of the top 10 players in the race to be named Indiana’s top high school football player, a moment Blair called "surreal."

“It’s pretty cool because coming into the season, I didn’t really think anything like that,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking of All-State stuff like that and Mr. Football. It’s pretty cool to see it come through. I’m just good with what the team did and I’m content with that. Whatever else is just extra and that’s fine with me.”

While the accolades will keep coming for Blair, his final season and career on the gridiron as a Knight have ended. And with the individual and team success he accomplished in his four years, Blair couldn’t be happier with how it all ended.

“It’s just a great feeling,” he said. “To work hard all four years and before that as a kid and come through and actually succeed and put Southwood football pretty high up there in the state, it feels great to get that done.”