After having district opening opponent Brady cancel and forfeit due to Covid, the Bearcats and the panhandle area Sunray Bobcats arranged to play a halfway game in Lubbock on short notice with the Bearcats being victorious 46-12.
With only a few days to watch film, game plan and prepare Ballinger could not have asked for a better opening to the matchup. Gavin Martinez received the opening kick at the Ballinger 13 and returned it 87 yards for the first score of the game. The opening drive for Sunray was worked equally well for the Bobcats. Starting on their own 29-yard line Sunray drove the length of the field for their own opening score.
Ballinger’s Gavin Martinez gave Ballinger great field position after receiving the next kick on the 25-yard line and returning it 38 yards to the Sunray 42. The next series for Ballinger was full of mistakes from the Bearcats, Bobcats and the referees. After a botched snap that set Ballinger back they were able to come back with a terrifically executed 48-yard screen pass to Beau Perkins. Unfortunately the drive would stall and on 4th down Carter Arrott was apparently facemasked with no flag. Coach Lipsey went on to the field to ask the referee, but was just told that Carter was hit in the face, which should have still been a personal foul. As it stood the ball went over on downs to Sunray.
Sunray was unable to make much progress on their next drive, however, as their quarterback rushed a pass while under heavy pressure from Adam Winn and threw the ball right to safety Tyler Vaughn for the Bearcats first interception of the game. Vaughn would return the ball down to the 15 of Sunray where Weston Rollwitz would take it on an end around for a score two plays later to give the Bearcats the lead.
Ballinger would force a three and out from Sunray before taking possession on their own 31. Carter Arrott was integral to Ballinger on this next drive, rushing for 59 yards on the three play Bearcat scoring drive. Sunray would challenge the Bearcats on their next drive, going the length of the field. The Bobcats hopes would be ended on the Ballinger goal line as Weston Rollwitz intercepted the ball for the Bearcats. Unfortunately for the Bearcats they were unable to capitalize and punted to Sunray just before the half and went to the half leading 20-6.
Ballinger was able to start the second half much like they ended the first, forcing a three and out. Tyler Vaughn would start the second half for Ballinger in his first action at quarterback since being injured in Week 1 at Jim Ned. However, it was another dynamic receiver for Ballinger that did the damage on the ground with JoeMarcus Guerrero taking an end around 48 yards for a score.
Another three and out was forced by the Ballinger defense and Vaughn would lead the Bearcat offense for the longest sustained drive of the game with 11 plays for 65 yards. The drive would end with a touchdown pass to Gavin Martinez for his second score of the game and Tyler’s first touchdown pass in six weeks.
The ensuing Sunray drive was ended by a Dylan Hostetter interception return for a touchdown on the second play. Sunray would receive the ball again and with help from a missed tackle the Bobcats were able to put another score on the board on a tremendous individual effort play by the Bobcat running back. Ballinger had another long drive with 8 plays for 56 yards capped by a rushing score from Beau Perkins for the final score of the game.
Players of the Game:
Gavin opened the game with one of the biggest plays of the season for Ballinger with his kickoff return for a touchdown and also caught a touchdown in the second half. Gavin also led the team in receptions and receiving yards.
Carter Arrott and Tyler Vaughn:
Carter had his most complete game as the Bearcat starter completing 6 of 11 passes for 65 yards and rushing for 47 more. Tyler had not thrown a ball in a game since the Jim Ned game in Week 1 and in limited action he completed 4 of 6 passes for 36 yards and the Bearcats only touchdown pass of the game. With Tyler seemingly healthy and Carter getting a grasp of the Varsity speed it will be interesting to see how this makes the Bearcats more versatile moving forward. Vaughn also had an interception defensively early in the game when the score was still close.
Beau was forced to play and perform on both sides of the ball. Due to the injury situation for Ballinger Beau had to play out of position defensively for Ballinger. Beau has played inside linebacker for Ballinger since the 7th grade, but he was forced to play outside for Ballinger in this game and he did a respectable job with very limited time to prepare. On offense he was in actuality the only healthy running back for Ballinger after Garrett Dixon was banged up against Llano and Nathan Rivera-McDuffee stuck at home on quarantine. He responded well with 12 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown as well as 3 carries for 35 yards.
What to watch for: Grape Creek
Grape Creek is 1-5 on the year so far and was shut out 62-0 in their district opener against Bangs last Friday. Their one win on the season is against San Angelo TLCA and they have scored 8 points in the last three weeks. The Eagles have had 165 points scored on them this season, but 42 of their 68 scored came in their one win.
Ballinger should use this game to continue to work on execution and fundamentals. Upcoming games on the schedule are 5-1 Ingram Moore and 5-0 Bangs Dragons.