Ballinger wins as Miles and Winters fall

Staff Writer
Runnels County Register
Ballinger Bearcats defender Weston Rollwitz drapes himself of the Beckenridge Buckaroos' quarterback.

Week 2 of the 2020 High School Football season in Runnels County was a repeat of week 1; Ballinger wins as Miles and Winters fall.

All 3 Runnels County teams have had significant injuries so far this season. Ballinger’s Bradyn Bowman was lost for the season with a catastrophic knee injury in the scrimmage against Anson while the Bearcats starting quarterback, Tyler Vaughn, went down with a shoulder injury against Jim Ned last week.

This week Winters had to play without second-year starting quarterback Alex Salas, who was out with an injury. Miles played without starting running back Brayden Dunlap, who sat out their game with a concussion suffered in the Bulldogs’ loss to Coleman in week 1.

With that being said, win or lose, it’s still pre-district play and the games really start counting on October 9th, when district play begins.

Ballinger bounces Breckenridge Buckaroos

The Buckaroos (0-2) must have felt like Friday was Groundhog Day, as they fell 13-0 against the Bearcats (13-0). Last week the Buckaroos lost by the same score to Jacksboro.

The game wasn’t the blowout that many expected it to be. Ballinger head coach Chuck Lipsey called a well-controlled and balanced game. “Steady and determined” were the name of the game.

Ballinger quarterback, junior Carter Arrott, was thrust into the starting role when Vaughn went down in week 1. Arrott has performed admirably, playing within himself and not letting the game get ahead of him. Against the Buckaroos, Arrott went 9 of 16 on passing, for 82 yards and 1 interception. Arrott threw a pass over the middle that Buckaroos’ linebacker Damion Mendez picked off. It appeared as though Arrott never saw Mendez who had dropped back, playing zone, firmly planting himself in the middle of the passing lanes. To his credit and the coaching staff, Arrott shook it off and put the INT behind him the next time that the Bearcats’ offense took the field.

Ballinger’s running back-by-committee offense has stepped up after the graduation of Cooper Bean last May. Bean left big shoes to fill and several running backs are vying to fill those shoes. Overall, Ballinger rushed 34 times for 170 yards, averaging 5 yards per rush. Senior Joe Marcus Guerrero rushed 1 time for 8 yards. Sophomore Nathan Rivera-McDuffee rushed 8 times for 27 yards. Arrott rushed 10 times for 22 yards. Junior Beau Perkins rushed 2 times for 11 yards while senior juggernaut Garrett Dixon carried the ball 11 times for 77 yards and 2 TDs. Speedy receiver Weston Rollwitz rushed 2 times for 25 yards. Rollwitz also hauled in 5 receptions for 37 yards.

The game was never in doubt, even with the 13-0 score at halftime. With the Bearcats not scoring in the second half, it appeared that Lipsey was building the game, working on fundamentals and execution. It was apparent that, had the Buckroos put some points on the board, Lipsey could cut the leash and let his team run amok up and down the field.

The ace-in-the-hole for the Bearcats was, once again, their defense. This is a defense that held the powerful Jim Ned Indians to 14 points, forcing a turnover on downs with the game on the line. The stingy defenders stifled the Buckaroo offense time and time again. Breckenridge has a special player in sophomore running back Jerry Lawson, #35. Lawson, at 6’, 235 lbs, has a potent combination of power and speed. In the end, his speed and strength were no match for the Ballinger defense as they held him to 24 yards on 6 carries.

The Buckaroos also had senior Jonas Arellano rushing (5 for 29 yds) as well as sophomores Anson Rodgers (7 for 29 yds) and Zeke Castillo (3 for 13 yds). Perhaps the Bearcats finest defense came when junior quarterback, Henry Johnson, at 6’3“, 180 lbs, was running the ball. Johnson rushed 7 times for negative yardage. Overall the Buckaroos only rushed for 94 yards in the entire game. Through the air, Johnson was 7 of 9 for 61 yards.

The Bearcats will host the Colorado (City) Wolves on September 11th. The Wolves had a down season in 2019 after coming off of a 10-2 season in 2018. The Wolves didn’t win a single game last year and lost 49-14 to the Bearcats. This season the Wolves dropped their opener to Crane, 37-0. Colorado followed that loss up with a 47-0 blowout to Albany.

The Bearcats defense has the potential to hold the Wolves scoreless again. The Wolves offensive line has proven vulnerable to staunch defenses, such as the Bearcats’. Against Albany, the Wolves rushed 18 times for 19 yards, while going 6 of 16 for 33 yards through the air.

Kickoff is at 7:30 at Bearcat Stadium.

Winters grounded by the Eldorado Eagles

The Winters Blizzards (0-2) fell to the Eldorado Eagles (1-1) by the score of 51-19 on Friday.

The Blizzards had to play without starting quarterback Alex Salas, who sat out the game with an injury from week 1. Junior quarterback Jon Kullen Buher stepped in for the injured Salas. While he was only 2 of 11 for 8 yards and 3 INTs through the air, he rushed 10 times for 75 yards and 1 touchdown. Sophomore Aidan Leamon threw 1 pass for 27 yards to junior Chaney Bahlman.

The Eagles are a passing team, thus their defenses prepare well for an opponent’s passing game. This was evident in their domination of the Blizzards. Not only did the defense pull down 3 INT, their junior quarterback, Korbin Covarrubiaz, was 14/25 for 235 yards and 5 touchdowns. Six Eagles’ players pulled in passes, with Cooper Meador nabbing 4 cathes for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 50-yard reception.

The Blizzards ground game was strong, once again. The squad of 6 running backs, as well as Busher, rushed 45 times for 261 yards and 3 touchdowns. Busher had the longest rush for the Blizzards with a 52 yard run.

Ball security was the Blizzards’ Achilles Heel, with Winters ultimately turning the ball over 4 times. The Blizzards couldn’t find a way to slow down the high octane Eagles. The normally substantial Winters defense gave up 499 yards to the Eagles.

This week doesn’t get any easier for the Blizzards as they host the 2-0 Bangs Dragons. The Dragons haven’t given up a single point this season. The Bangs offense is averaging over 41 points per game. The Dragons hosted the Blizzards in 2019, winning the game 41-27.

While the game will most certainly rest on the shoulders of the defense, much will ride on the arm and legs of Salas, if he’s healthy to play. Busher and senior Matt Jacob must have a solid ground game if they want to keep the game close. Jacob rushed 10 times for 42 yards against Eldorado. Senior Malakye Kelly rushed 9 times for 60 yards. The combination of those 3 carrying the ball could be the difference maker in the game. Kelly is as fast as anyone in their district and brings a significant change-of-pace from Busher and Jacob.

Kickoff is at 7:30 at Blizzard Stadium.

Miles Bulldogs fall to Coahoma Bulldogs

The Miles Bulldogs (0-2) have had a rough start to their season. So far they haven’t put a point on the board, while giving up an average of over 40 points. In week 1 they fell to the Coleman Bluecats, 32-0. On Friday they fell to 49-0 to Coahoma, giving up 7 touchdowns.

The game stats were a story in themselves. Miles ran 42 plays to Coahoma’s 47, which might indicate a close game. But, Coahoma had 22 first downs to Miles’ 4, dominating in every category. They outpaced Miles on the ground and through the air.

Part of the issue with Miles is that, as previously mentioned, starting running back, senior Brayden Dunlap, sat out the game with a concussion. Dunlap’s experience can be the difference maker in games and his loss was felt throughout the game.

On the positive side, sophomore Carson Ellison stepped up and had a significant number of carries. Ellison’s presence was felt on both sides of the ball. On defense he had several tackles, including a tackle for loss. On the offensive side, he ran the ball on sweep plays and up the middle, playing much bigger than his 5’6“, 135 lbs frame. Ellison has speed and agility and is typically one of the first defenders making contact with the running backs and receivers. What he might give up in size, he makes up for with the ”pop“ in his hits. His tenacity of his hits have surprised runners.

Miles’ team captain, Brandon Rodriguez, has been the jack-of-all-trades for the Bulldogs. He’s played running back, half back, tight end and receiver. Even when the game has been out of reach, Rodriguez has kept himself and the other players in the game by his leadership and sheer determination. It’s still pre-district and Miles has 3 more games to get their team hitting on all cylinders if they want to make a serious run at the district championship. The team isn’t light on experience with 7 seniors on the team. They also have perennial heavy hitters, Christian Gutierrez and Joel Garcia, on the line. Junior Seth Michalewicz has the size and speed, at 5’11“, 195 lbs, to make a difference on both sides of the ball as a tight end and defensive end.

Head coach Jayson Wilhelm is in his first year at Miles. Wilhelm has brought in his own style of play and has used 2 quarterbacks during their games, freshman Hayven Book and junior Hayden Johnson. They still need to get their legs under them but they’re making progress. Like all of the football teams, Miles didn’t have much practice before the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This lack of practice time, coupled with a new head coach and new quarterback, has been a challenge for a Bulldogs program that went 7-4 in 2019.

This week the Bulldogs will host a Roscoe Plowboys team that the Bulldogs defeated last season, 49-28. In that game, Miles’ senior quarterback, Davian Martinez, passed for 118 yards and 2 TDs on 11/17 passing. Martinez also ran for 173 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Dunlap rushed 13 times for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Overall the Bulldogs rushed for 314 yards in that game. The key component to this game will be Dunlap, and whether or not he’s cleared to play.

Kickoff is at 7:30 in Roscoe.

Other scores from around the area:

Llano (2-0) defeats Sonora (0-2), 41-8.

San Angelo’s Lake View Chiefs (2-0) defeat Pecos Eagles (0-2), 44-41.

Munday Moguls (1-1), fall to the Shamrock Irish (2-0), 36-12.

De Leon High School (0-2), falls to the Windhorst Trojans (2-0), 55-7.

Goldthwaite (0-2), falls to Cross Plains (2-0), 28-14.

Christoval Cougars (1-1), defeat the Grape Creek Eagles (0-2), 23-18.

Rocksprings (2-0), defeats Dilly (0-2), 30-20.

Leakey School (2-0), defeats Eden (1-1), 64-14.

Junction (1-1) defeated the San Angelo TLCA (0-2), 40-13.

McCamey (2-0), defeated Menard (0-2), 56-6.

Hamlin’s Pied Pipers (2-0) traveled to Hawley (1-1) and played the Bearcats to a loss, taking the game 35-6.

Stamford Bulldogs (1-1) travel to Roscoe Collegiate High School (0-2) and come away with a 27-0 victory.

San Saba Armadillos (2-0), welcomed the Rogers Eagles (0-2) and promptly rolled them up for a 24-21 victory.

Ingram Moore High School (2-0), grounded the Johnson City Eagles, 34-12.

Merkel Badgers (2-0) greeted the Stanton Buffaloes (1-1) with a 24-22 grinding win.

Crane High School Cranes (2-0), traveled to Colorado City (0-2) and defeated the Wolves, 37-0.

In a battle of two teams that defeated Miles and Winters, respectively last week, the Anson Tigers (2-0), mauled the Coleman Bluecats (1-1), 38-14.

Just up the highway, the Wall Hawks (2-0), welcomed the Cisco Loboes (1-1), and send the Loboes home with a loss, 35-14.

Bangs Dragons (2-0), traveled to take on the Florence Buffaloes (0-2). The Dragons breathed fire into the offense and came away with a convincing 55-0 victory. Bangs has now scored 80 points over their first 2 games of the season and have not given up a single point to opposing offenses.

The Comanche Indians (2-0), welcomed the Brady Bulldogs (1-1), into Indian country and quickly came away with a 28-7 win.

In some 4A action:

Stephenville’s Yellowjackets (1-1) welcomed the Lampasas Badgers (2-0) to town and were soundly bounced by the Badgers, 41-0.

Ballinger's Joe Marcus Guerrero stops Breckenridge Buckaroo Julian Eutimio for no gain.