Ballinger wins; Winters & Miles fall

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register

It was the second week of district play with all 3 Runnels County teams playing home games.

Bearcats defeat Grape Creek Eagles

Ballinger (6-1) cruised to victory, 41-0, over the Grape Creek Eagles (1-6). Last week the Bearcats game against Brady was a forfeit by the Bulldogs due to the COVID-19 virus. The forfeit counted as a district victory for the Bearcats, who now sit at 2-0 in the district.

Aidan Busenlehner #52, Adam Winn #72 and Bryce Foster #75, never allowed the Grape Creek offense to get any momentum.

The Bearcats were never in danger of falling against the Grape Creek Eagles. By the second quarter, Ballinger had a 21-0 lead. The Bearcats' offense was running smoothly, both through the air and on the ground. Ballinger had two players take snaps quarterback position, senior Tyler Vaughn and junior starting QB, Carter Arrott. Both players proved more than capable of leading the team up and down the field and into the end zone.

The Grape Creek quarterback took a quick snap and attempted a jump pass that resulted in a Ballinger interception just before halftime.

The Bearcats' cast of the "usual suspects" making plays included running back Garrett Dixon, wide receiver Weston Rollwitz as well as Vaughn and Arrott. Hard hitting linemen and LBs, Adam Winn, Colton Belk, Marcus Castleberr, Bryce Foster, Nakia Villarreal, Garrett Dixon and Aidan Busenlehner crushed any hope the Eagles had of putting points on the board.  Dylan Hostetter, Beau Perkins and the cast of linebackers, along with the defensive backs, covered the field from sideline-to-sideline and kept the Eagles' offense contained.

Ballinger's Tyler Vaughn pulls down an interception against the Grape Creek Eagles in the 2nd quarter of the Bearcats' 41-0 defeat of Grape Creek.


The Eagles ran their offense from the Wildcat throughout the game. They had 2 players back in the shotgun to receive the snap, but their efforts to try to confuse and trick the Bearcats were stymied on each play. The defense didn't buy into fakes or misdirection plays.

For the Bearcats it was basic football 101. The linemen got penetration into the backfield or stopped plays at the line; the linebackers plugged the gaps and stopped runs at the line of scrimmage. The defensive backs covered the Eagles receivers and brought down a couple of interceptions. The offense was also executing the fundamentals with ease. Their run blocking opened up 5 and 10 yard gains, regularly. The Bearcats used pass plays to open up the running game, picking up big chunks of yardage in the blink of an eye.

Ballinger stands atop their district with their 6-1 overall and 2-0 district record. They're followed by Bangs (6-0, 2-0), Sonora (3-4, 2-0), Brady (2-5, 0-2), Ingram Moore (5-2, 0-2) and Grape Creek (1-6, 0-2), respectively. Ballinger's district, 3A-2 Region 1, District 2, is rife with strong competition. Ingram Moore is the next opponent as the Bearcats will travel to Moore to take on a stout Warriors football team.

It's hard to see a clear path, up or down, for any team in the district. While Ingram Moore is 0-2 in district, they have a 5-2 overall record. They've only given up 127 points over 7 games, for an 18.1 points per game average. During the 7-game span, they've scored an average of almost 28 points per game.

Ingram Moore won 5 straight games to start their season, defeating Junction, Johnson City, Harper, Center Point and Manor New Tech, respectively. Their only 2 losses have been in district play; @Sonora, 28-13 and @Bangs, 47-15. This game will be a solid test for the Bearcats, with the Warriors playing their first home game since district play started.

Bangs and Ballinger would seem to be the clear favorites to finish at the top of the district. But, planted firmly in the middle of the district is Sonora, with their overall 3-4 record, but 2-0 district record. Sonora has given up more points than they've scored, but much of that was before district started. They've won 3 games in a row since the week before district: vs Eldorado 44-42;  vs Ingram Moore, 28-13; @ Brady, 44-13.

Winters falls to San Saba

The (1-6) Winters Blizzards hosted the San Saba Armadillos (5-1) on Friday, falling by the score of 49-0. The Blizzards were never able to get any drives going that resulted in points as San Saba rushed for 292 yards and threw for 213.

The key to the game for San Saba was ball security. Winters turned the ball over a total of 4 times; 3 fumbles and 1 interception. The Armadillos senior quarterback, Risien Shahan, was 10/23 for 201 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also rushed for 16 yards and a touchdown.

The loss drops the Blizzards to 1-6 on the season and 0-2 in their district.

Friday the Blizzards will travel to Goldthwaite to take on a struggling 2-5 Eagles team. Goldthwaite iis also 0-2 in district thus far. The district is led by 3 teams that are 2-0; San Saba, Coleman and Cisco. While De Leon joins Winters and Goldthwaite as the teams without a district victory. De Leon, like Winters, is 1-6 on the season.

Miles stumbles in 33-6 loss

It's been a feast or famine type of season for the Miles Bulldogs. They're either getting blown out, or blowing out their opponents. They're 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in the district. Their latest game was a 33-6 defeat by the (5-2, 2-0) Junction Eagles.

The teams held each other scoreless for the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter, Junction scored a touchdown and hit the PAT, to take a 7-0 lead. Junction would score once more in the second quarter, but miss the PAT and go into halftime with a 13-0 lead.

Miles struck first in the 3rd quarter when running back Brayden Dunlap punched the ball in from 5 yards out. Miles missed the PAT. That would be the end of the scoring for the Bulldogs. Junction would answer that score with one of their own and increase their lead 19-6. The Eagles would score within a couple of minutes when a Bulldogs pass from Hayden Johnson was intercepted by Junction's Isaiah Gonzales and returned for a touchdown. In the 4th quarter, Gonzales would get his second pick-6 of the night. The game ended with the Eagles 33-6 win.

The game wasn't an offensive blowout, as the score might indicate. Junction was only able to put up 210 yards of total offense, compared to Miles' 186 yards. The Bulldogs lost the turnover battle with 3 interceptions and 3 fumbles. Junction turned the ball over twice; 1 interception and 1 fumble.

Friday the Bulldogs will travel to take on the 0-7 Menard Yellowjackets. The Bulldogs will need to up fire up their offense behind Dunlap's running, and win the turnover battle to come back home with a much needed win.

Currently, Miles, Rocksprings and Menard sit at 0-2 in their district. Overall, Rocksprings is 4-2, Miles 2-5 and Menard 0-7, respectively. At the top of the district is Junction at 2-0 in district, 5-2 overall, followed by Eldorado 2-0 in district, 3-4 overall and Christoval, 2-0 in district, 6-1 overall. With the 3 games left in the season, everything is far from over. With some solid play and a little luck, the Bulldogs could finish close to the top since the 3 teams at the top of the district still have games against each other.