After faltering the previous two weeks the Ballinger Bearcats showed up for their Homecoming matchup with the Bangs Dragons with a fire. Bangs had been thought to be much improved from a year ago and although the Bearcats defeated them 45-7 a year ago their 31-0 victory this season was even more impressive.
Bangs had come into the contest with Ballinger averaging 33 point per game. Scoring 40-plus in three victories on the season and scored 27 in their loss to Anson. Only the Hawley Bearcats were able to corral their offense with just 9 points on September 6th.
Taking that into consideration it is all the more impressive what the Bearcats mothering defense was able to accomplish. Ballinger held Bangs stud running back Ethan Sanchez to under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season. They were also able to hold the Dragons to a season low, yards per attempt rushing the ball with 3.7. Their previous low was 6.1 yards per carry against Hawley.
Ballinger dominated the ball in all phases of the game from starting whistle to ending whistle. On the other side of the line the Bearcats dominated on the ground. Cooper Bean could averaged 10.4 per carry for 94 yards. Tyler Vaughn averaged 10.6 per carry for 53 yards. Edgar Nunez averaged 7.6 per carry for 76 yards. Adam Winn even got in on the action with his for carry of the year.
The real story of the day, however, is the Ballinger defense. A defense only one week removed from being gashed time after time for big plays came out swarming to the ball and stomping any momentum Bangs had before it got started. Adam Winn led the way with a jaw-dropping 21 tackles on the game with 12 solo. Aiden Busenlehner came up with his best performance so far for the Bearcats with 12 tackles, while Cooper Bean and Marcus Castleberry pitched in with 12 and 10 respectively. Of the Bearcats top seven tacklers, in a game that saw Ballinger get over 100 tackles for the first time on the year, only Cooper Bean will be graduating this year.
Up next for Ballinger will be hosting the Grape Creek Eagles on Friday October 18th.
The Eagles roll into town coming of an 8-6 defeat at the hands of TLCA.
Grape Creek is 1-5 with their only win over 2A Rocksprings and a Bangs team that struggled to even move the ball on Ballinger was able to score 46 points against the Eagles.
Players of Note vs Bangs:
Adam Winn was spectacular with 21 tackles, 12 solo and a sack. On offense he regularly opened up holes in the running game and kept the quarterbacks clean when they were throwing.
Cooper Bean always gets praised for his ability on defense, but this season he is showing more and more explosiveness as a runner. Truly the only thing holding Bean back from being at an elite running back level is top end speed. He has hit the hole with tenacity this year behind a big strong line that loves to run the ball.
Weston Rollwitz has been superb. Whether on offense or defense number 6 just makes plays. Asserting himself as a defender more this year Weston is making teams shy away from his side of the field making them more one dimensional. On offense he just gets open and makes plays.
Players to Watch vs Grape Creek:
I’ll get this out of the way. Ballinger should be able to score as many points as Coach Chuck Lipsey wants to score this Friday. Grape Creek does not have the athletes to slow down the Bearcats at this point. On defense do not be surprised if Ballinger pitches another shutout. Backups will get plenty of playing time in this game. Look for at least one 100 yard rusher from bean, Vaughn or Nunez. On defense we should be able to make sacks and force turnovers. Winn should be at the forefront of making this happen, along with Bean, Bowman and Dixon. Interceptions should be available to the secondary as the quarterback should be pressured consistently on the night.