Friday, October 17, 2014

Big second half drives Ballard to victory

Rocket RB Lane Wallace carried a big offensive load in this game.
Here, he gets mobbed by the Ballard defense.
MARION, Ky. – It was a fairly unresponsive takeoff when the Rockets and Bombers launched their battle to avoid last place in the Class 2A First District Friday at Marion… but the fireworks picked up in a bold second half.

The problem for Crittenden County (3-5, 0-2) was that Ballard Memorial came off the pad in rapid-fire succession in the third period, setting off a 34-21 victory and sowing up third place in the district.

Little mistakes piled up on the Rockets' launch pad, creating big problems for the otherwise respectable flight. Considering last week's disheartening shutout against Murray, Crittenden County's performance this week was remarkable. The Rockets were in the game until some bad snaps and turnovers dampened their hopes of making it a real battle in the fourth period. 

"There were just some mistakes," Rocket coach Al Starnes said. "We felt like we had a chance. We tell the kids that if you take care of the little things, big things occur."

Unfortunately, two turnovers and a couple of huge losses in critical situations allowed the slightly-favored Bombers to escape with the win. Ballard's athletic lineup was held in check the first half as the Bombers clung to a 7-0 edge at the break. 

Nick Castiller scored in the third period to tie the game at seven, but Ballard responded in short order, scoring on its first four possessions of the last half, thanks largely to the legs of speedy Dre Bledsoe, who rushed for 116 yards on just four carries and caught four passes for 59 yards. 

Crittenden was hampered by the early loss of fullback/linebacker Dylan Hollis. The junior suffered a concussion two weeks ago, and when he took a hard hit late in the first period this week, the staff sidelined him the rest of the game. 

"That left us without a fullback," Starnes said, "and it put us in a Catch 22 situation."

Senior tailback Lane Wallace, back in the lineup after missing a couple of games with a bad shoulder, rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown. He and QB Nick Castiller provided most of the ground gainers and senior Noah Dickerson caught six passes for 65 yards, including one touchdown.

Ballard, 7-2 overall and 1-2 in the league play, will likely play at Butler County in the first round of the playoffs while the Rockets will probably go back to Owensboro Catholic for the third straight year.

The Rockets will play Caldwell County next week at Princeton. The Tigers will likely be ranked No. 1 in Class 2A after beating No. 6 Murray 31-24 Friday. With Louisville DeSales getting upset this week, the previously second-ranked Tigers will probably bump up a notch. Caldwell QB Elijah Sindelar needs just four TD passes to set the Kentucky record.

SCORE BY QUARTERS
Ballard Memorial 0 7 21 6
Crittenden County 0 0 7 14

SCORING PLAYS
B-Dre Bledsoe 13 run (Cullen Garner kick) 4:50, 2nd
C-Nick Castiller 1 run (Dylan Hicks kick) 7:39, 3rd
B-Ethan Dunning 9 run (Bledsoe pass from Andrew Burton) 6:02, 3rd
B-Bledsoe 50 run (run failed) 3:38, 3rd
B-Dunning 3 run (Garner kick) :16, 3rd
C-Lane Wallace 11 run (Hicks kick) 9:30, 4th
B-Devyn Bledsoe 1 run (kick failed) 8:07, 4th
C-Noah Dickerson 22 pass from Castiller (Hicks kick) 1:03, 4th

TEAM TOTALS
First Downs: Crittenden 16, Ballard 14
Penalties: Crittenden 3-20, Ballard 11-90
Rushing: Crittenden 40-100, Ballard 37-255
Passing: Crittenden 10-18-1, 103 yds., Ballard 7-11-1, 87 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 203, Ballard 342
Fumbles/Lost: Crittenden 2-1, Ballard 1-1

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Rushing
Crittenden: Wallace 16-95, Maeson Myers 2-4, Dickerson 2-3, Castiller 18-36, Team 2-(-38). Ballard: Devyn Bledsoe 13-47, Dunning 14-79, Burton 6-13, Dre Bledsoe 4-116.
Passing
Crittenden: Castiller 10-18-1, 103 yds. Ballard: Devyn Bledsoe 0-1-0; Burton 7-10-1, 87 yds.
Receiving
Crittenden: Dickerson 6-65, Alex Cosby 2-17, Wallace 1-13, Hicks 1-8. Ballard: Dunning 2-10, Tre Bledsoe 4-59, Dru Collier 1-18.
Defense
Beavers 2 solos, assist; Birdwell 6 solos, 3 assists, interception; Castiller 2 solos, 2 assists; Coleman 6 solos, 4 assists, TFL; Dickerson 3 solos, assist; Fitzgerald 8 solos, 2 assists, TFL; N.Greenwell solo, 3 assists; Hicks 7 solos, caused fumble; Hollis solo, 3 assists; E.Hunt solo, assist; A.McKinney solo; T.McKinney 5 solos, 3 assist, fumble recovery; Myers 4 solos, 5 assists, sack; Robinson solo; Smith solo; Wallace 3 solos, 2 assists, TFL.

Pizza Hut Players of the Game
Offense Lane Wallace and Noah Dickerson, Defense Travis Fitzgerald, Lineman Tyler Coleman.
Records: Crittenden 3-5 (0-2), Ballard 7-2 (1-2).

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