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Blizzards triumph while Ballinger and Miles fall

Staff Writer
Runnels County Register
Miles' Hayden Johnson avoids a Cross Plains defender in the Bulldogs 41-12 loss to the Buffaloes.

On Friday, the Winters Blizzards (1-4) snapped their winless streak before heading into their Bye week by defeating the Hico Tigers, 41-0. It was a much-needed victory for the Blizzards who have struggled with injuries and inconsistent production this season.

Quarterback Alex Salas showed that he was back to full strength by hitting 4 of 6 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown. Salas also led the team in rushing, with 16 carries for 124 yards and 2 touchdowns. Senior Malakye Kelly also got in on the ground game, rushing 11 times for 54 yards and 1 touchdown. Sophomore Aidan Leamon had 4 rushes for 55 yards and a touchdown.

The receiving corps was led by Esteban Gonzalez, who caught 2 passes for 37 yards and 1 touchdown. Chaney Bahlman and Dayvin Oats also caught passes. In addition, Oats rushed 3 times for 32 yards.

The win comes at a crucial time as Winters heads into their Bye week. In pre-district play they were sitting at the bottom of the district at 0-4 and have allowed a district-high 163 points. The win gives them some momentum as they use the week to get ready for their district opener on October 9th. They’ll travel to Cisco to take on the Loboes (2-3). While Cisco’s offense has struggled at times, putting up a district-low average of 19 points per game, their defense has been stifling, only allowing 102 points on the season. Cisco is coming off of 2 straight losses and will be looking for some redemption as they open district play on their home field.

Winters has used a corps of running backs to move the ball this season. They’ve used up to 8 rushers in a game. The Blizzards have averaged over 260 rushing yards per game. In their victory over Hico, Winters had 7 players rush the ball 37 times for 277 yards and 4 touchdowns. Getting that rushing game going shouldn’t be hard for a team that averaged 7.5 yards per rush in Hico.

The Blizzards’ defensive will have to hold the line and win the game in the trenches. Giving up over 32 points per game this season, the defense will have to stem the tide and find a way to slow down a Loboes team that has their own cadre’ of 7 rushers. The Loboes have a prolific passer in sophomore Hunter Long, but that air attack gave up 3 interceptions to Comanche 2 weeks ago. The Winters defense will have to stop a strong running game and also break up passing plays in the backfield.

Ballinger Bearcats fall to Llano

The Ballinger Bearcats (4-1), traveled to Llano to take on a dominating Yellowjackets (5-0) team. It was expected to be a tough game for both teams. In the end, it was a tougher game for the Bearcats, who fell 34-0.

Most of the damage from the Yellowjackets came for the air. Llano junior Maddox Green was 4/7 28 yards, while starting QB Case Kuykendall was 11/20 for 229 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Llano rushing game only put up 105 yards, but they also scored 2 touchdowns.

Ballinger’s quarterback, Carter Arrott, was 9/21 for 93 yards and 2 interceptions. The Ballinger ground game picked up 182 yards on 35 carries, an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Llano had 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.

The game might have been a wake-up call for the Bearcats who have had their way with their opponents this year, going 4-0 prior to the Llano game. The Bearcats’ defense has been able to stop plays at the line of scrimmage but weren’t able to disrupt an experienced Yellowjackets offense that has been running smoothly all season.

That stat lines don’t tell the full story. Ballinger ran 65 plays, to Llano’s 64. The Bearcats recorded 11 first downs to the Yellowjackets’ 16. The penalties hurt the Bearcats. Ballinger had 7 penalties for 75 yards, while Llano had 1 penalty for 10 yards and had the game well in hand heading into halftime. The second half was much like the first half for Ballinger, as they failed to put any points on the board against the hungry Llano defense.

Ballinger has a Bye this week and will need it to prepare for district play. Their first opponent will be on the road against the Brady Bulldogs (2-3), on Oct 8. Brady has a staunch defense that has allowed only 95 points over 5 games. Meanwhile, the offense has put up an average of 30 points per game. Ballinger has the edge on defense, only giving up 66 points on the season, with 34 of those points being scored by Llano. Last season the Bulldogs came to Ballinger and lost, 26-22.

This game should be another tough one for both teams now being in the same district and Brady looking to avenge that loss from last year.

Miles falls to Cross Plains

The Miles Bulldogs were coming off of 2 straight wins as they hosted the Cross Plains Buffaloes (4-1) on September 25th.

The Bulldogs offense and defense had made significant improvements since starting the season 0-2. There were high hopes that Miles would cap off Homecoming with a win over the Buffaloes. In the end, the Bulldogs fell 41-12, under and onslaught of power running from the Buffaloes.

The Buffaloes pounded the ball time and time again as Miles had trouble controlling the line of scrimmage. Cross Plains scored 14 points before the 1st quarter was over. The Bulldogs seemed to calm down and get things going in the 2nd quarter, only to have some big gains called back because of penalties. Cross Plains would punch the ball in the end zone for 7 points to end the half at 21-0.

The Bulldogs offense made adjustments at halftime and came out in the 2nd half ready to play. They managed to put 2 touchdowns on the board, but they also surrendered 2 touchdowns to the Buffaloes offense. Miles has proven susceptible to passing attacks, which the Buffaloes used to open up the running game. The 3rd quarter ended with Cross Plains up 34-12.

In the 4th quarter, Cross Plains put another score on the scoreboard and time ran out with the Buffaloes winning, 41-12. It’s been a tough season for the Bulldogs but they’ve shown resolve and there is no lack of leadership on the field. They’ve had to get everything going in the right direction under a new head coach and new starting quarterback.

Miles has a Bye this week but will open up district play on the road against the Eldorado Eagles (1-4) on October 8. The only victory for the Eagles came against Winters, 51-19, on September 4. The Eagles have a vicious aerial attack that will stretch defenses across the field. Eldorado’s Korbin Covarrubiaz put up 377 yards of passing, along with 4 touchdowns in their loss to Sonora.

Miles will have to lock down the corners to attempt to stall the passing game. Eldorado can put up a lot of points in the blink of an eye. Miles has shown the ability to do that as well so it could be a fast paced game on both sides of the ball.

Ballinger's quarterback, Carter Arrott, runs the ball in the Bearcats 34-0 loss to the Llano Yellowjackets on September 25.