Ballinger traveled to Jim Ned on Friday August 28th in possession of a lofty #13 preseason ranking and a bullseye on their chest. Coach Chuck Lipsey has said, “We will get every teams best shot each week” and they definitely got Jim Ned’s best shot on gameday.
Ballinger came out fired up in the first quarter. After deferring possession to the second half Coach Marvin Wilson’s defense took the field and didn’t take long to start to assert dominance over the Indian offense. After a holding call that pushed Jim Ned back inside their own 20 the Ballinger defense held them to no yards on the first two plays until Tyler Vaughn jumped in front of a pass and gave Ballinger their first interception of the season. Three plays later, after a nicely executed catch and run from Weston Rollwitz, Garrett Dixon stretched the ball over the goalline to give Ballinger their first score of the season.
On the next Jim Ned possession Ballinger was aided greatly by two consecutive offensive penalties to start the drive and the Indians were forced to punt after three fairly unproductive plays. Unfortunately for Ballinger their next possession was cut short as Jim Ned forced a fumble by Beau Perkins on the second play of the drive giving them great field position as they started their next drive on the Ballinger 33 yard line. After some very strong running by Jim Ned’s Xavier Wishert the Indians were able to score on a direct snap to the junior running back.
After some back and forth by both teams Jim Ned was able to take the lead off of an Xavier Wishert 60 yard touchdown run. Ballinger would respond on their next possession driving 64 yards on eight plays that consisted mostly of Garrett Dixon and Tyler Vaughn running some smash mouth football and aided with a big 3rd down conversion pass of 23 yards to Weston Rollwitz. Garrett Dixon was able to grab his second score of the season as he made some quick footed moves inside before he simply outran the last remaining defender to the goalline. An uncharacteristic missed extra point by Adam Winn left the Indians ahead by one point at the half, 14-13.
On their opening possession of the second half Ballinger drove downfield and almost took the lead on a wide receiver pass play from Rollwitz to Gavin Martinez that was just beyond his reach. Ballinger had to settle for a field goal that was just outside the uprights. As both teams were getting worn down the Bearcats had a scare as Tyler Vaughn got shaken up and taken out of the game. Still behind 14-13 it would be up to Ballinger’s Carter Arrott to bring home the victory. The junior quarterback would not disappoint in his relief effort.
On his first series running the offense Carter had a terrific scramble for 20 yards after he got pressured in the backfield, but it wasn’t until his second drive that he showed off his playmaking ability. Under extreme pressure by Jim Ned’s star linebacker Wishert, Arrott made a heads up play with an underhand pass to Garrett Dixon that went for 11 yards. As big as this play was, however, it was the run two plays later that had everyone talking. On 2nd and 9 from the 19 yard line Carter pulled the ball on a zone read and headed off the left side of the line sprinting for the endzone. It looked like Carter might be stopped short when he went airborne over the last remaining defender and flipped into the endzone for Ballinger to take the lead. After this there was very little time remaining on the clock for Jim Ned to work the ball downfield and the Ballinger defense remained stout to get the turnover on downs. To give them the 20-14 victory.
In what was a thrilling and hard fought victory Ballinger’s defense was tremendous. Taking away the 60 yard run by Wishert the defense only gave up 159 yards the rest of the game with only 44 yards given up through the air. The Ballinger offense, while working through some consistency issues had 295 yards while each team had a turnover
Ballinger next will take on Breckenridge in a home game on Friday, September 4th.
Brekenridge is coming off a 13-0 defeat at the hands of Jacksboro where they had 111 yards of offense for the game. This looks like it should be an impressive game for the Bearcats as they continue to fine tune things before district play.
Key Players vs Jim Ned:
Weston Rollwitz: Weston had a spectacular game on both sides of the ball catching 5 passes for 97 yards while contributing 12 tackles on defense. If you watched the game it looked like more than 12 as Weston was seemingly in on ever defensive stop.
Garrett Dixon: Garrett is not your prototypical running back. He is on the taller side and not overly large, but he ran like a man with something to prove against Jim Ned. Having 21 carries for 95 yards is not a jawdropping stat line, but he was running hard from start to finish and both touchdowns could have been stopped short if not for Garrett’s hard running style. Garrett also pitched in 8 tackles on defense.
Carter Arrott: It was clear to everyone that Jim Ned had no defensive gameplan in place for Carter running the ball and when he did they couldn’t answer. Coming in when he did possibly saved the game for Ballinger as he changed the offense. Having 3 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown is big time and when you factor in the fact it came in relief as well as the timing and it is impossible not to mention. On defense Carter had 5 tackles and played good coverage on the backend including defending a pass on Jim Ned’s final offensive play that had it been completed would have given them a few tries at the endzone.
Players to watch vs Breckenridge:
Carter Arrott: I think regardless of health it is likely that Tyler Vaughn will be rested this week so this would give Carter his first ever varsity start. It will be exciting to see what the young man can do with a full game to play.
Beau Perkins: Beau should get many more carries this week against Breckenridge than he did against Jim Ned. I would not be surprised to see Beau go from 1 carry for 4 yards to having a 100 yard effort this week. He is an explosive player with tremendous size and athleticism.
Gavin Martinez/ Joe Marcus Guerrero: Ballinger needs to get someone active in the passing game other than Weston. Both Gavin and Joe Marcus had balls thrown their way, but were unable to do much with it. A focal point in practice this week should be spreading the ball around and either one or both could be a large beneficiary from it.
Photos for print available at https://mcduffeefamilyphotography.smugmug.com/Ballinger-Bearcat-Football-2020