Friday, October 10, 2008

Rockets capture First District title

MARION, KY. - Defense won another championship.

The Rockets stifled Ballard Memorial's running game and held its passing attack in check at critical points en route to a 41-19 victory which sewed up first place in the Class A First District.

It was a sweet victory for the Rockets - their first league title since joining the far western Kentucky district with Ballard, Mayfield, Fulton City and Fulton County.

"This was a big one," coach Al Starnes said after the game. "This gives us home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs."

While the Rocket offense got stellar performances by running back Rodney Robertson and quarterback J.D. Gray, it was the defense that kept Ballard on its heels. Robertson back in the lineup after breaking his hand in the second game of the season, rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Gray scored twice running the ball and finished with 121 yards on the ground. He threw for 85, including one touchdown to senior Dustin McConnell, who had a season-high four catches for 48 yards.

Crittenden's defensive front smashed the Bombers, holding them to just 15 yards rushing. On 14 of Ballard's 25 running plays, Crittenden caught the Bombers in the backfield or stopped them right at the line of scrimmage.

Although Ballard's sophomore quarterback threw for 233 yards, much of that came late in the game with Crittenden back up playing a prevent defense. Ballard scored twice late in the fourth period to make the score more respectable. Crittenden led 34-7 early in the fourth period.

Gray and Aaron Berry picked up a couple of Ballard fumbles. The Rockets scored behind Berry's recovery late in the third period. The Rockets got into the end zone on its first two possessions of the game for a 15-0 lead, but went flat in front of a large homecoming crowd.

Ballard grabbed some momentum late in the first half after scoring on an 83-yard drive, but Crittenden came back in the third period and posted three quick touchdowns before the Bombers answered the bell. The Rockets scored on four of their second-half possessions.

Although Crittenden, 5-2 overall and 3-0 in the district, has one more league game against Fulton County, the Rockets have mathematically captured the championship. Fulton County is winless in the district and Crittenden goes to Hickman to play the Pilots on Oct. 24, its next to last game.

Ballard Memorial, 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the district, is much improved this season and came into the game with hopes of getting a share of the district crown and avoiding a road trip in the first round of the playoffs. None of that worked out for the Bombers. Two Ballard starters were out of the game, one for breaking team rules and the other was involved in a minor vehicle accident earlier in the week.

Ballard finishes third in the district behind second-place Mayfield.

Pictured above is lineman Aaron Berry (53) tackling Ballard's Taylor Edging for a loss.

Ballard Memorial    0    7    0    12
Crittenden County  15   0   12    14

CC-Rodney Robertson 19 run (Dustin McConnell pass from J.D. Gray) 8:51, 1st
CC-Gray 25 run (J.R. Adams kick) 6:11, 1st
BM-Taylor Edging 1 run (Steven Mix kick) 1:38, 2nd
CC-Gray 1 run (kick blocked) 6:44, 3rd
CC-Robertson 21 run (kick failed) 4:31, 3rd
CC-McConnell 9 pass from Gray (Adams kick) 10:26, 4th
BM-Steven Pullen 58 pass from Alex Mallory (pass failed) 4:24, 4th
CC-Robertson 1 run (Adams kick) 1:11, 4th
BM-Pullen 25 pass from Mallory (pass failed) :03, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 16, Ballard 8
Penalties: Crittenden 4-40, Ballard 7-45
Rushing: Crittenden 47-297, Ballard 25-15
Passing: Crittenden 7-11-0, 85 yds., Ballard 12-20-0, 233 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 382, Ballard 248
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 1-1, Ballard 2-2

Crittenden: Robertson 25-164, Gray 17-121, Brian Berry 4-15, Gaige Courtney 1-4, Joey Pluskota 1-(-7). Ballard: Will Mallory 8-10, Alex Mallor 11-4, Edging 6-0, Pullen 1-1.
Crittenden: Gray 7-11-0, 85 yds. Ballard: A.Mallory 12-20-0, 233 yds.
Crittenden: McConnell 4-48, B.Berry 2-43, Tanner Nix 1-(-6). Ballard: Pullen 7-159, Chris Jones 2-30, Edging 1-7, Josh Bourff 1-8, Gregg Gordon 1-16.
A.Berry 5 solos, 3 assists, sack, 2 TFL, caused fumble, fumble recovery; B.Berry 3 solos, 6 assists, fumble recovery; Clark 4 solos, 4 assists, sack, TFL; Copeland solo; Courtney 6 solos, 6 assists, sack, TFL, caused fumble; Cudnik solo, 3 assists; Fletcher assist; Freeman solo, 6 assists, fumble recovery; Gray solo, assist; Henandez solo, assist; Kirk assist; Lee 2 solos, TFL; Nix solo; Pluskota 2 solos, assist; Thornton 4 solos, 3 assists, TFL, caused fumble; Urbanowski solo, assist; Wallace 3 assists; Werne 3 solos, 3 assists; Willis assist.
Records: Crittenden 5-2 (3-0), Ballard 2-5 (2-2).