Friday, November 21, 2008

Playoffs: Rockets overpower Ballard Memorial 48-7

MARION, Ky. -- For the third time since 1998, the road to the Final Four runs through Crittenden County.

The Rockets won their second straight playoff game in convincing fashion Friday, overpowering Ballard Memorial 48-7. Now, Crittenden County will be at home for the First Region championship next week against Mayfield, a 24-7 regional semifinal winner at Louisville Holy Cross.

Just eight teams remain the Class A playoffs. It is Crittenden's third trip to the state quarterfinals in the past 11 seasons.

Crittenden's senior running back Rodney Robertson zig-zagged and powered his way to 214 yards and six touchdowns as Ballard was helpless against the mighty Rocket running attack. Robertson posted long runs of 75, 42, 20 and 18 yards during the contest. He had amassed 187 yards and five TDs by halftime as Crittenden led comfortably 42-0 at the break.

The Bombers' offense was stymied by Crittenden's frontal assault which pestered the Ballard quarterback and bottled up their running game. QB Alex Mallory was sacked four times and managed just 58 yards passing on 7-of-22 accuracy. Meantime, Crittenden dominated up front and held the Bombers to just 11 yards rushing.

The last time the teams played – in a 41-19 regular season Rocket win – Ballard had just 15 rushing yards, but netted 233 through the air. This time, Crittenden's pass rush was overwhelming while its secondary kept the Bomber receivers under wraps.

Defensive back Joey Pluskota intercepted one Ballard pass and returned it 30 yards to the Ballard three-yard line to set up one of Robertson's touchdowns. J.D. Gray also returned a punt 63 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.

The Rockets piled up four touchdowns in the first period and never looked back. Crittenden was ahead 14-0 after just five plays from scrimmage.

The regional semifinal victory sets the stage for a rematch between Crittenden and Mayfield (7-5). The Rockets (9-3) captured the district championship by beating the Cardinals 27-14 on Sept. 26 at Mayfield. It was the Rockets' first ever win over the Cardinals. 

Since 1999, Mayfield has defeated the Rockets eight times in the Class A playoffs. Next week's showdown will be an historic clash between the two schools with Crittenden seeking its first post-season win over the Cardinals and its first regional championship since 1985. 

Mayfield and Crittenden have met twice previously in the regional title game. The Cardinals won each encounter by a large margin – 57-6 in 1998 and 41-12 in 2002. Both games were played at Marion.

Pictured is Rodney Robertson (5) streaking toward a first-half touchdown.

Ballard Memorial  0    0  0   7
Crittenden County 28 14 6   0

CC-Rodney Robertson 42 run (kick blocked) 11:02, 1st
CC-Robertson 75 run (Gaige Courtney pass from J.D. Gray) 8:55, 1st
CC-Robertson 9 run (J.R. Adams kick) 2:40 1st
CC-Robertson 3 run (Adams kick) :53, 1st
CC-Gray 63 punt return (Adams kick) 7:14, 2nd
CC-Robertson 18 run (Adams kick) 4:05, 2nd
CC-Robertson 2 run (kick failed) 3:13, 2nd
BM-Stephen Pullen 26 pass from Alex Mallory (Steven Mix kick) 2:38, 4th

First Downs: Crittenden 5, Ballard 4
Penalties: Crittenden 9-90, Ballard 6-42
Rushing: Crittenden 30-307, Ballard 20-11
Passing: Crittenden 1-2-0, (-3) yds., Ballard 7-22-1, 58 yds.
Total Yards: Crittenden 304, Ballard 66

Crittenden: Robertson 17-214, Gray 6-60, Brian Berry 4-37, Devin Wallace 1-(-1), Dustin Hernandez 4-(-3). Ballard: Taylor Edging 6-19, Will Mallory 5-6, Josh Bourff 1-(-1), Alex Mallory 8-(-13).
Crittenden: Gray 1-2-0, (-3) yds. Ballard: A.Mallory 7-22-1, 58 yds.
Crittenden: Joey Pluskota 1-(-3). Ballard: Pullen 2-31, Austin Wagner 2-18, Edging 2-7, W.Mallory 1-2.
A.Berry 4 solos, 2 assists, 3 TFL, sack; B.Berry solo, assist; Clark 2 solos, 6 assists, sack; Courtney 7 solos, 3 assists, sack; Cudnik 2 assists; Freeman solo, assist; Gray solo, 3 assists, onside kick recovery; Kirk 2 assists; Long 2 solos, 2 TFL; Mitchell 3 solos, assist, 2 TFL; Nix 2 solos, assist; Robertson assist; Thornton solo, 2 assists; Pluskota interception; Urbanowski solo, assist; Wallace assist; Werne 3 solos.
Records: Crittenden 9-3, Ballard Memorial 6-6.

For more video from the Ballard game and others this season, click here.
For more Crittenden Press online videos, or to watch the above video in higher quality, click here.