Bombers pass homecoming test
The game was not as pretty as the Homecoming court, but it was another Ballard Memorial victory Friday night 64-27 over Webster County. Coach John Elliott said following the Homecoming victory, “It’s a lot more fun at the dance after a win. We got a win so the kids are enjoying themselves now.”
The Bomber coaching staff could not have scripted a better start to the game. Alek Hugen took the handoff on Ballard Memorial’s first offensive play and burst through the Trojan defenders, racing in for the score from 41 yards out. It was the first of many times the junior tailback would find his way into the end zone. Homecoming king Devoun Bledsoe made the score 13-0 as he zigged and zagged his way through Webster County’s defense scoring from 19 yards out. After the third three and out series for Webster County’s offense, Ballard Memorial junior Cash Owsley took the punt on the Trojan 49 yard line and took it to the house for a 20-0 Bomber lead with just under five minutes remaining in the opening quarter of play.
Webster County received a gift from the Bombers on the next series as the Bombers were called for an offside’s call on third and five, giving the Trojans their first first down of the game. They would make the Bombers pay. Eight plays later, Webster County scored on a 20 yard run as the Trojan running back bounced off at least three Bomber defenders on his way in for the score. This made the score 20-7 with 8.9 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. The Bomber offense then started to sputter, as they went three and out on their next possession. Webster County wasted little time in trimming the lead, as they connected on a 72 yard touchdown pass on a third and fifteen play to make the score 20-14. Both teams traded possessions before the Bombers were able to score again. The Bombers drove 79 yards on 11 plays as Hugen found his way in for his second score of the night. The two point conversion failed leaving the Bombers up 26-14. The pesky Trojan team then had an answer, as they trimmed the lead to 26-21 on a 26 yard touchdown pass with just over a minutes remaining in the opening half. But the quick strike Bomber offense had an answer. It took the Bombers two plays to counter the Trojan touchdown as QB Trevor Langston hit fellow senior Zack McAfee in stride for a 44 yard strike to push the lead to 34-21 at the break. “We didn’t do our fundamentals,” said Coach Elliott regarding the first half as he added, “We didn’t cover and we didn’t tackle, and for about an eight minute stretch, everything went against us and everything went for them.”
The Bombers quickly set the tone in the second half. Owsley caught the ball on his own 21 yard line. He threaded his way through some would be tacklers and 79 yards later, he was in for the score to double the lead at 42-21. The Bombers recovered the ensuing kickoff and looked to blow the game open, however the offense stalled and gave the ball back to Webster. A quick three and out for Webster led to an even quicker Bomber score. After Owsley returned the punt to the Trojan 26 yard line, it took Hugen one touch of the ball to get his third score of the night. Another short series for Webster gave the Bombers the ball at their own 39 yard line. Facing third and nine, Hugen found his way down the right sideline as he went for 53 yards to set up a first and goal from the seven yard line. Hugen then went in for his fourth score and the 57-21 lead which put the running clock into affect with 4:58 remaining in the third. The Bomber’s defense held Webster to their third three and out of the half, but the Bombers coughed up the ball on their first offensive play. Webster looked to strike fast as they threw the 23 yard pass into the end zone, but Owsley was able to pick off the pass to give the Bombers the ball back. Owsley then put the finishing touches on his night as five plays later, he outran the Trojan defenders for a 72 yard touchdown run. The Bomber’s yielded a late touchdown to put the final at 64-27. “The line once again gave me a great push,” said Hugen as he added, “After halftime, we came out ready and focused on the game.” Owsley said, “The line blocked good and everybody just played well. The second half we came out and were ready. We pulled it off.”
Hugen and Owsley both finished with over 100 yards rushing in the game. Hugen finished with 11 rushes for 154 yards and four scores. Owsley finished with four carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. He also added a kickoff, and punt return for a touchdown to go along with an interception. He did everything but sell popcorn in the concession stand on the night. Andrew Burton had two touches for 13 yards. Ethan Dunning had some hard runs as he had 9 carries for 35 yards. Bledsoe finished with 1 carry for 19 yards and a touchdown while Langston had 4 carries for minus 5 yards and a score. Langston also hit on 5 of 14 passing attempts for 64 yards and a score. He found McAfee one time for 44 yards and a touchdown, Hugen had one catch for seven yards, while Dunning also had seven yards on two catches. Burton added one grab for six yards. The Bomber’s defense gave up more points Friday night than they had surrendered the first three games combined. They surrendered 185 yards passing and two touchdowns but only allowed the Trojans to rush for 39 yards on 19 carries with two of those carries going for a score. A majority of those yards came late in the first half.
“We had a little adversity tonight,” said Elliott about the performance late in the first half. He went on to add, “It was our first challenge this year, but we rallied. Once we calmed down, then we were ok. We came out in the second half and pretty much controlled the ballgame.”
The Bombers look to extend their perfect season as they head on the road for their first road game of the year. The 4-0 Bombers travel to Hopkins County Central Friday night to take on the 4A program Storm team. Discussing the start to the season, Owsley said, “It feels pretty good, it really does. We’re a good team and as long as we play together, we will be fine.” Coach Elliott commended the nice crowd we had on hand for Homecoming. “It was great. That was the biggest crowd I’ve seen in the three years I have been here. I appreciate everyone coming out. I know the kids were excited about the crowd and hopefully, they will continue to come out and watch us play.”