Jim Ned opens title defense with payback win against Ballinger

Paul Harris
San Angelo Standard-Times
The Jim Ned Indians run onto the field at Bearcat Stadium in Ballinger before their season-opening game Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.

BALLINGER — As if playing the state's No. 1-ranked football team to open the season wasn't difficult enough, the Ballinger Bearcats had to contend with another factor.

The Jim Ned Indians were out for revenge.

Jim Ned avenged the only blemish from last year's state championship, overwhelming Ballinger 42-7 to kick off the 2021 season with its 16th straight win Friday, Aug. 27.

In last year's season opener, Ballinger traveled up to Tuscola and rallied past Jim Ned 20-14 on a late touchdown.

Even a state title didn't make the Indians forget about that.

"We all talked about it secretively. We didn't really bring it up in front of the coaches," said Jim Ned junior lineman Gage Stanaland. "But yes, we were completely looking for revenge."

Jim Ned's defense tackles Ballinger's Beau Perkins during their football game Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Bearcat Stadium in Ballinger.

It didn't take long for them to find what they were looking for.

Led by Stanaland — one of three returning all-state linemen for Jim Ned — the Indians scored three times in the opening 13:37 of the game, capped by an 82-yard touchdown run by Xavier Wishert to push the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.

Wishert finished with 215 yards on only 12 carries to lead Jim Ned's powerful rushing attack.

Jim Ned running back Xavier Wishert breaks away for an 82-yard touchdown run in the Indians' football game Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Bearcat Stadium in Ballinger.

Jim Ned led 28-0 at halftime and 42-0 by the end of the third quarter.

While the players may have been out for revenge, the coaches were just seeking improvement, Jim Ned head coach Matt Fanning said. 

"We're trying not to focus on (last year's game). We're trying to focus on us," Fanning said. "We wanted to see our kids come out and execute and play hard, just like any first game of the year. We want to run our base schemes and do a good job, and I think we did that.

"(Ballinger) is a good ball club. Our hat goes off to Ballinger. Their staff does a really good job with a young ball club."

Jim Ned's Sergio Hernandez (24) prepares to fend off the tackle attempts of Ballinger's Carter Arrott during their football game Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Bearcat Stadium in Ballinger.

Ballinger head coach Chuck Lipsey said he knew his team was in for a big challenge Friday against a defending state champ with a chip on its shoulder.

"I told our kids (Jim Ned) had our name in their locker room all spring and summer," Lipsey said. "We only have five guys on our team that played against them last year. So we talked about playing hard and having courage, and that playing opponents like this is going to help us down the road."

Despite the lopsided score, Ballinger had two first-half drives that stalled after reaching Jim Ned's 20-yard line.

Each time, big catches by Blake Collom, who finished with four receptions for 102 yards, set up the Bearcats.

Ballinger's Blake Collom hauls in a pass during the Bearcats' loss to Jim Ned on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at Bearcat Stadium in Ballinger.

Ballinger quarterback Carter Arrott was 14-of-23 passing for 151 yards and rushed for 44 yards against Jim Ned's relentless defense.

The Bearcats finally broke through with a 71-yard touchdown drive midway through the fourth quarter, capped by Beau Perkins' 4-yard run on third-and-goal.

"I was pleased with the way we were able to move the ball some," Lipsey said. "Defensively, I thought we played well at times, but their tailback and fullback are just studs. But I think we grew up tonight."

Ballinger will travel to Breckenridge next week, while Jim Ned will host Sweetwater, the No. 9-ranked team in Class 4A Division II.

Jim Ned, which is a notch below Sweetwater in 3A DI, didn't play the Mustangs last year because the game was canceled due to COVID-19.

Jim Ned 42, Ballinger 7

Jim Ned    14    14    14    0 — 42

Ballinger    0    0    0    7 — 7                      

First Quarter

JN - Sergio Hernandez 14 run (Luke Vinson kick), 9:56

JN - Braden Lewis 14 pass from Tate Yardley (Vinson kick), 5:19

Second Quarter

JN - Xavier Wishert 82 run (Vinson kick), 10:23

JN - David Rodriguez 13 pass from Yardley (Vinson kick), 3:54

Third Quarter

JN - Yardley 12 run (Vinson kick), 8:37

JN - Creed Beck 80 run (Vinson kick), 1:05

Fourth Quarter 

BAL - Beau Perkins 4 run (Briley Clinton kick), 6:03

                      JN    BAL

First downs    16    13    

Rushing-yards    25-352    32-83

Passing    83    151

Comp-att-int    6-10-0    14-23-1

Punts-avg    2-32.5    2-32

Fumbles-lost    1-0    4-1

Penalties-yards    6-60    2-10

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Jim Ned: Xavier Wishert 12-215, Sergio Hernandez 4-41, Tate Yardley 1-12, Creed Beck 1-80, Brayden Shipman 2-4, Talon Farmer 1-4, Colt Lindsey 2-14, TEAM 2-(-18); Ballinger: Carter Arrott 15-44, Beau Perkins 11-28, Zack Canada 5-12, TEAM 1-(-1).

PASSING — Jim Ned: Tate Yardley 6-10-0 for 83; Ballinger: Carter Arrott 14-23-1 for 151.

RECEIVING — Jim Ned: Cooper Mascorro 1-8, Braden Lewis 1-14, Blaine Palmer 1-19, Luke Vinson 1-9, David Rodriguez 1-13, Sergio Hernandez 1-20; Ballinger: Blake Collom 4-102, Trey Matschek 1-4, Beau Perkins 2-(-2), Zack Canada 3-21, Martin Quiroga 2-15, Noah Peacock 1-2, Landon Landers 1-9.