Weather was on everyone’s mind Friday night as Ballard Memorial traveled to Hopkins County Central to take on the Storm. Several area schools postponed their matchups until Saturday due to the rainy weather conditions that moved across western Kentucky during the afternoon. As more rain and deteriorating conditions were expected through the night, the Bombers wanted to come out and make a statement. “We wanted the ball first because I did not know how the conditions were going to end up tonight,” said Coach John Elliott as he added, “I wanted to score quickly if we could.”
The Bombers did just that. Cash Owsley returned the opening kickoff to near midfield where he lost the handle of the ball. Justin Polivick was right there to pick up the loose ball to retain possession for the Bombers near the Storm 44 yard line. Two Alek Hugen runs for 10 yards and a pass from Trevor Langston to Ethan Dunning moved the ball to the Hopkins County Central 27 yard line. That is when Langston faked the handoff to Hugen and rolled out of the pocket. He threw into the left side of the end zone where a diving Devoun Bledsoe made the catch for the 6-0 lead. Coach John Elliott said the team had practiced on a fake extra point attempt in practice this week and they used it to perfection. Langston was the holder and took the snap. He rolled out and found Owsley open in the end zone to complete the two point conversion to make the score 8-0. “We got off to another fast start tonight and played well,” said Elliott.
The Bomber’s defense surrendered one first down and then forced the Storm into a punt. On the second possession for the Bombers, they fumbled to give Hopkins County Central the ball on the Bomber 40 yard line. The defense held and forced the Storm to a turnover on downs. That is when the Bombers own storm hit the Hopkins County Central team. Dunning took the handoff and raced 68 yards to score again for the Bombers to make it 15-0 with 5:27 remaining in the opening quarter. The Bomber pressure continued as Owsley recovered the kickoff that could not be handled by the Storm. The Bombers had the ball on the Hopkins County Central 27 yard line. Langston connected with Bledsoe on a 12 yard pass and catch, and Hugen then busted through the Storm defense for another 12 yards. Langston finished it off with a three yard run to put the Bombers up 22-0. The Bomber defense continued to impress, forcing a three and out and providing the Bombers another opportunity to put points on the board. They did just that as they went 43 yards on six plays as Dunning scored on a six yard run to put the Bombers up 30-0 with 11:21 remaining in the opening half. Lineman Shawn Johnson then showed his athleticism as he busted through the line and made a diving block on the Storm punt. It took the Bombers one play to capitalize as Langston found Zack McAfee on a 29 yard touchdown reception to put the running clock into motion with 9:17 still remaining in the opening half. Hugen put the finishing touches on the night as he ran in from 34 yards out late in the half to put the game away 42-0. That was the halftime score and what the final score would end up.
The second half saw a lot of the Bomber backup players get some playing time. Offensively, they struggled as they turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a fumble. But the backup defense would not surrender any points against the Storm. They used the bend but don’t break philosophy as the Storm took the ball into Bomber territory on four occasions in the second half. The defense would respond each time as they forced the Storm into three turnovers on downs. To top the game off, the defense recovered a Hopkins County Central fumble at the four yard line with 3:44 remaining in the game to preserve the shutout. With the running clock in effect, the Bombers got a couple of first downs to run out the clock and to complete their third shutout of the year, this time 42-0.
Following his two touchdown performance, Ethan Dunning points back to this summer as the reason this team is off to the 5-0 start. “It’s all in the weight room. During the summer, we were there at six o’clock in the mornings, working our butts off, and it is paying off right now.” Coach Elliott said about the multi dimensional game of the Bombers, “We try to get the ball to about three different people in the backfield. We have got some guys on special teams that are making some plays for us, consistently, and Trevor Langston played real well tonight.”
Langston had a very efficient night as he completed six of nine passes for 85 yards with two touchdowns. Freshman Devyn Bledsoe ran the offense in the second half and went zero for two with two interceptions. Langston connected with Dunning on three receptions for 18 yards, Devoun Bledsoe on two catches for 38 yards and a score, and then McAfee caught the one pass for 29 yards which went for a touchdown. Rushing saw Hugen carry the ball ten times for 104 yards and a score while Dunning had rushed for 84 yards and two scores. Also getting into the action was Jabarie Bledsoe who rushed for 15 yards, Andrew Burton had 13, while Tyrell Byas also got into double digits with 11 yards. Devyn Bledsoe concluded the night with nine yards, Devoun Bledsoe with nine, while Langston had three yards and a score.
Up next week will be a battle of the top ten’s as the eighth ranked Bombers travel to Princeton to take on the number one ranked Caldwell County Tigers. “It will be a challenge,” said Elliott as he adds, “They’re a great team. We’re going to have to step up to the challenge and we are looking forward to it so see where we are.” All the talk in the area is about the playmakers the Tigers have in highly touted QB Elijah Sindelar and running back Jaylen Boyd. But the Bombers bring their own playmakers into the contest. Dunning said, “We’ve got good players too and our defense has been pretty solid, so we are ready.” The battle begins 7:00 Friday night in Princeton.