On Friday, October 25th, Ballinger traveled to Merkel to face off against the Badgers. One of Ballingers three losses on last season Ballinger would be looking for a different outcome this time out. This wasn’t quite the same Merkel team as last season without all everything athlete Jonah White, who is now on scholarship with the Baylor Bears. Ballinger would walk away this year with a 53-0 win. Much different from the 53-41 shootout loss from the year before.
Ballinger deferred the kickoff to the second half, opting to start out on defense. The Badgers were able to get some yards, but Ballinger stiffened up and forced a punt. On the third play of Ballingers first possession Tyler Vaughn hit Weston Rollwitz for an 85 yard catch and run touchdown. Ballinger 7- Merkel 0
Merkel’s next drive was probably their best of the game. They were able to get down within the Bearcat 30 yards line, but they weren’t able to convert on fourth down giving the ball back to Ballinger. On the first play of the drive Weston Rollwitz took a wide receiver sweep down the field 51 yards for his longest rush of the year. Cooper Bean punched it in from 23 yards out for Ballingers second score. Ballinger 13- Merkel 0
Merkels third possession was a short one and they again had to punt the ball to Ballinger. A terrible punt from Merkel, however, gave the Bearcats possession on the 38 yard line. On the very next play Cooper Bean would take it the distance for his second score of the game. Ballinger 19- Merkel 0
On Merkels first play they fumbled the ball to the Bearcats, but Ballinger was unable to capitalize, throwing an interception five plays later. Merkel would get a second chance, but again would fumble the ball away on their first play. After a few strong runs by Cooper Bean, Garrett Dixon was able to sneak down the seam and score on a 22 yard scoring strike from Tyler Vaughn. Ballinger 26- Merkel 0
Merkel received the kickoff, but continued their offensive woes with another fumble on the first play of the drive. After a couple of big plays by Garrett Dixon, Cooper Bean punched it in from a yard out for his third touchdown of the game. Ballinger 33- Merkel 0
After a short drive from Merkel they were forced to punt again. Ballinger would take the ball on their 37 yard line and go to work. After a few plays it was a big 30 yard screen pass from Vaughn to Braden Bowman that again put Ballinger on the board giving us a one sided halftime score. Ballinger 40- Merkel 0
Ballinger would receive the kickoff after the half and after a strong return from Garrett Dixon they were able to start on the Merkel 47 yard line. Cooper Bean would have some strong running on the drive, but it was capped by Tyler Vaughn on an 18 yard quarterback sneak. Ballinger 47- Merkel 0
Merkel went three and out on their next drive, but when Ballinger came back out Carter Arrott and Beau Perkins were manning the backfield for Ballinger. Regardless of who was back there the Bearcats didn’t slow down. Strong running from the two led Ballinger down the field where Carter ran in from two yards out for the first Varsity touchdown of his career. 53-0
Ballinger opted to control the clock for the remainder of the game and didn’t push the ball anymore. For the majority of the 3rd quarter and all of the 4th, Ballinger was resting their starters and getting others key reps.
Ballinger next Coleman in Ballinger on November 1st. Ballinger defeated Coleman 41-0 last season and the Bluecats are fresh off of a 44-21 loss against a Bangs Dragons team that Ballinger beat 31-0. Ballinger will be looking for their fourth straight victory in a stretch of games that has seen them give up just 6 points over the last 14 quarters of football.
Players of the Game vs Merkel
Cooper Bean 13 carries for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns on offense to go along with 16 tackles, 5 tackles for loss and 2 forced fumbles on defense. Cooper is playing out of his mind on both sides of the ball this year and he looks like a man amongst boys.
Tyler Vaughn is starting to get really comfortable at quarterback. After a shaky couple of weeks you could tell that the extra practice reps are starting to make a difference. Tyler had 23 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown, but through the air he was almost flawless. He was 8-0 for 188 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Sophomores Beau Perkins and Carter Arrott have been moved up from JV during the season and in both of their first extended showing they did not disappoint and showed why they were moved up to join Castleberry. Beau was only 3 yards short of his first 100 yard game with 97 and on defense he got his first career Varsity sack along with 8 tackles. Arrott was no slouch himself with 11 carries for 40 yards and his first Varsity touchdown and 5 tackles on defense.
Adam Winn does his thing game in and game out for Ballinger along the offensive and defensive lines, but his value kicking can not be understated. In two games as Ballinger’s starting kicker he is 9-11 on extra points and has a long field goal of 32 yards against Grape Creek along with averaging 38.9 yards on kickoffs with 2 touchbacks. For a kid to come in at a position he hasn’t played on a Varsity level before and have the success he is having shows that Adam is what all coaches love to have, he is just a football player!
Who to Watch against Coleman:
Pick ‘em? It honestly could be anyone with the big game for Ballinger. Tyler Vaughn just passed for 3 touchdowns for the first time in his career, but that might not continue for this game. Bangs just put up 444 yards rushing on Coleman and Ballinger just might be able to top that after running for 340 against Merkel. And passing for another 188. The offensive line for Ballinger manned primarily by Juniors Adam Winn, Eric Toliver, Colton Belk and Seniors Fernando Falcon and Ricardo Lopez have been dominating of late and the defensive line of Winn, Falcon and Marcus Castleberry have been just as good on the other side.