HUXLEY - The second half belonged to Ballard in a 46-17 victory over Gilbert during a Class 3A District 2 football outing in Huxley Friday.
The Bombers asserted their will over the final two quarters, outscoring Gilbert 28-0 in the second half to even their record at 4-4 overall and go to 4-2 in the district.
“We had the lead at half, but we weren’t playing our best football,” Ballard quarterback Isaac Schafbuch said. “We were disappointed we still left them in the game, so we came out with energy and intensity. We did our job, eliminated some of (our) mistakes and I think that’s what put us up.
Schafbuch threw touchdown passes to Jack Luster and Kegan Odden and he also had an 8-yard touchdown run in the second half. He found Luster on a 37-yard scoring strike off a play action pass early in the third quarter, hooked up with Odden from nine yards out in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, then capped the scoring with his touchdown scamper.
“We really kicked it in,” Schafbuch said of his team’s performance in the second half. “We did our job. We knew if we did our job, then things would open up. The line was making massive holes for us (and) the receivers made great plays for me.”
Schafbuch ran for 76 yards and completed 6 of 12 passes for 69 yards.
As a team, Ballard racked up 333 yards on the ground. Reece Huen set the pace by rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
“I give all the credit to the line,” Huen said. “A lot of them are seniors. They knew it was their last home game — they were furious. They gave me the best holes — it made it a pretty easy job for me.”
Skyler Noftsger ran for 88 yards, Blake Henga picked up 52 yards and a touchdown on just two carries and Gavin Hobbs added 37 yards and a touchdown.
Gilbert finished with 363 yards.
The Tigers did most of their damage on two plays from Landon Howard in the first quarter. Howard caught an 85-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barragy and added a 70-yard scoring run.
Ballard switched to an even front in the second half. That combined with a Cover-4 defense to limit Gilbert’s big plays.
“That really helped switching to the 4-front,” Ballard defensive lineman Josh DeTar said. “Less double-teaming and less triple-teaming — our pass rush was on game.”
DeTar had 14.5 tackles, including 13 solo stops and five tackles for loss. Joe Hofbauer made 5.5 tackles and had a blocked punt, Ben Lee finished with 12 stops and one tackle for loss, Justice Sullivan racked up 15 tackles and Schafbuch and Gannon Manfull each intercepted a pass.
Gilbert fell to 2-6 overall and 2-4 in the district.
Howard caught nine passes for 159 yards and added 72 yards rushing for the Tigers. Barragy completed 13 of 19 passes for 225 yards and John Howell made 11 tackles.
Ballard ends the regular season this Friday against Greene County (1-7, 1-5). The Bombers still have a shot at automatically qualifying for the playoffs with a win and a Webster City loss versus Boone — depending on the victory margins of each game — and Ballard could also sneak in as a wild card pick.
Ballard’s game with Greene County takes place at 7:30 p.m. at Jefferson.
Ballard 46, Gilbert 17
G 14 3 0 0 - 17
B 12 6 14 14 - 46
G - Landon Howard 85 pass from Matt Barragy (Matthew Koenig kick), 8:16.
B - Blake Henga 48 run (kick failed), 5:53.
B - Gavin Hobbs 7 run (run failed), 3:15.
G - Howard 70 run (Koenig kick), 1:58.
B - Reece Huen 7 run (pass failed), 5:56.
G - Koenig 23 FG, 0:36.
B - Jack Luster 37 pass from Isaac Schafbuch (Brendan Vincent kick), 9:50.
B - Huen 36 run (Vincent kick), 7:27.
B - Kegan Odden 9 pass from Schafbuch (Vincent kick), 10:35.
B - Schafbuch 8 run (Vincent kick), 3:29.
Team statistics G B
Rushes-yards 34-124 42-333
Passing 15-21-2 6-12-0
Passing yards 239 69
Total yards 363 402
Fumbles lost 0 0
Punts-average 5-27.6 3-32.0
Rushing: G - Landon Howard 3-72, Aiden Carr 10-22, Eric Swart 13-16, Matt Barragy 6-11, Ethan Clewell 2-3. B - Skyler Noftsger 16-88, Reece Huen 8-80, Isaac Schafbuch 8-76, Blake Henga 2-52, Gavin Hobbs 8-37.
Passing: G - Barragy 13-19-2-225, Brennen Hergentreter 2-2-0-14. B - Schafbuch 6-12-0-69.
Receiving: G - Howard 9-159, Keegan Sturdy 2-32, Swart 2-27, Anthony Porter 1-19, Carr 1-2. B - Jack Luster 1-37, Hobbs 1-16, Kegan Odden 2-12, Noftsger 1-3, Huen 1-1.
Tackles: G - John Howell 11, Logan Litchfield 8.5, Swart 6, Brock Harris 6, Noah Ante 5. B - Justice Sullivan 15, Josh DeTar 14.5, Ben Lee 12, Brooks Fleischmann 6.5, Sam Andrews 5.5, Joe Hofbauer 5.5, Ben Hokel 5.
Interceptions: B - Schafbuch, Gannon Manfull.