Ballinger blasts Reagan County, 32-6, in home opener; Miles pummels Roby, 53-0; Winters blanks Eldorado, 22-0
Two minutes prior to kickoff in a steady rain that never let up, Ballinger Bearcats head coach Chuck Lipsey told me, “The main thing for our team, offensively, is that we need to eliminate the turnovers from last week and then not have the big penalties. Those things are fixable and we need to do that tonight. On the defensive side, they (Reagan County) are big up front and we have to get off blocks, wrap up and gang tackle. It’s going to be a wet, slippery night so we have to maintain ball security and hold on to the football.”
It began raining well before kickoff and didn’t stop raining until several hours after the game. A week of steady rain had soaked the turf completely. The field conditions were sloppy and the football felt more like a shot put than a football. The passes had no zip on them and most were short passes turned into long gains after the catch. Footing was precarious and linemen on both sides had trouble getting a big push off at the snap. The footing had a significant effect on the rushing game as runners could not easily make sharp cuts, especially when they ran to the ends and tried to cut and head up the field. At one point even the side judge referee slipped and slid a solid four feet before regaining his footing without missing a beat.
The game started off slow for the Reagan County and they never contended against a focused Bearcats team that scored six points on their first possession. They stifled the Owls time and again at the line of scrimmage. The Bearcats racked up eighty yards in penalties but it didn’t slow them down as they slogged through the mud and pounded out tackles in groups of three and four. With their running game stalled at the line of scrimmage, the Owls took to the air but senior quarterback Justin Chavez completed only 4 of 12 passes for 91 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Their bogged down running game only managed 75 yards and Reagan County closed out the game with 166 total yards. They averaged an anemic 2.3 yards per rush.
The Bearcats came into the game and played with tenacity and a line that did a fantastic job. They ground out stop after stop on the gridiron bog and every time it seemed that the Owls were about to get in tune the Bearcats would stifle them. A Bearcats line that was highly suspect before the season came though on offense and defense once again. Of the 98 tackles made by the defense, incredibly, twenty-one were tackles for loss with seven sacks. Junior Adolph Medina made 13 tackles, six for loss and three sacks while also recovering one fumble. Senior Ashton Belk added 15 tackles with four of them going for loss and one sack. Cooper Bean knocked out 13 tackles, three for loss and forced a fumble. The defense never gave up on a play or took a play off. They played every down as if it were the last one.
At halftime the Bearcats were up by a score of 14-0 but Lipsey, who gave me an interview on their way to the locker room, felt that they should have been up by more.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,” Lipsey said. “We should be up by three scores but we had some plays called back on penalties. We have to eliminate those big penalties. We did a good job moving the ball but those penalties hurt us.”
When the Bearcats came out after halftime, they were a team driven as they put up 18 points in the third quarter to bring the score to 32-0. With the rain continuing to pour from the sky and the field a quagmire from the first half, the teams fought for good footing just as they fought for the ball. The Bearcats continued to wall off the Owls from the end zone with the exception of one 70-yard play when the defender slipped in the muck. Catching up to a runner in the open field was neigh on impossible given the conditions. The Ballinger running game was solid and Damian Willborn broke an 84 yard run for a touchdown. Overall the ground game put 217 yards on the board to go along with two touchdowns. The comfortable lead allowed the Bearcats to play ball-control as they cruised through the fourth quarter on their way to a win.
The next challenge for the Bearcats will be a serious test of their mettle as they host a Colorado City team that has won both of their games this season. The two unbeaten teams will be relying on strong defenses for good field position and creating turnovers. Colorado has given up thirty-four points total so far while scoring an average of just over 36 points per game.
Ballinger’s stingy defense will be expected to stop a Colorado running game that is averaging 196.5 yards per game. Colorado senior quarterback Markis Monroe is lethal through the air, hitting 21 of 26 passes for seven touchdowns while tossing only two interceptions this season. His quarterback rating is 117.2 as he dices up defenses with precision passes. The dual threat offense could wear down a Ballinger defense and capitalize on big plays.
The Bearcats have been up to every challenge so far and Lipsey and his staff are sure to have a well-prepared team take the field. Not only have the players been out-playing the competition, they coaches have been out-coaching the other coaches. If their own 193.5 rushing yards per game average can win the time of possession and limit their turnovers, just one or two big plays could be the deciding factor. The Bearcat defense will have to contain and pressure Monroe into making mistakes through the air. Either way it’s going to be a tough battle for both teams but Ballinger should come away with a one touchdown win.
Miles Bulldogs take
a bite out of Roby Lions
The Miles Bulldogs dismantled the Roby Lions by a score of 53-0. Roby had a winning record last season, finishing at 6-5. But, coach Charles Boles had the Bulldogs prepared and hitting on all cylinders as they fought the Lions in a game plagued by a torrential downpour that never let up.
Senior running back Mason Bryan used the conditions to his advantage by running the ball 22 times for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The running game overall put 471 yards on the board. Jared Flores connected on 1 of 6 passing. The one completion was a touchdown thrown to Davian Martinez who also scored two touchdowns on the ground.
Miles started off the game with two touchdowns in the first quarter, followed by 21 points in the second quarter, seven in the third and finished off the game with 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Miles won only two games in 2017 and they have already equaled that win total this season. With their 67-14 thrashing of Ranger last week the Bulldogs have put an exclamation point on their young season. Their running game has proven unstoppable thus far, whether in clear weather on good turf or in a tempest with poor conditions.
For their next game, the Bulldogs will travel to Roscoe to face the winless Plowboys who have given up twice as many points as they’ve scored this season. Coach Boles will have his squad ready and could come away winning by at least three touchdowns.
demolish Eldorado Eagles
The Winters Blizzards blew into Eldorado and plowed through the Eagles with a 22-0 winning effort. Eldorado beat TLCA last week by a score of 54-18 but taking on the Blizzards wouldn’t prove to be an easy task.
The Blizzards never let up the pressure on the Eagles and have now scored 54 points on the season while only giving up 14. Eldorado carries 46 players on their roster while Winters has 29 as the Eagles roster depth was considered a significant factor prior to kickoff. Coach Matt McCarty had his Blizzards squad ready to take on the challenge. Even though they fumbled the ball several times, the Blizzards were able to make up for those errors by putting points on the board.
The Blizzards grounded the Eagles’ running game, holding them to 134 yards on 31 carries for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Overall they only had a total of just 213 yards.
Next, the Blizzards take on a winless Bangs team that has given up 129 points in just the first two games this season. The game could be dangerous if the Blizzards look beyond Bangs and get surprised at home. In the end though, the Blizzards should come out with a win and put up 40-plus points on the board.