WINTERSET - Ballard figured it’d beat Winterset to the punch with a gamble that paid off huge in a 32-31 overtime victory over the Huskies Friday at Winterset.
Ballard had all the momentum going against it when the team took possession of the ball in overtime.
Winterset scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to tie the game — the last points coming off a 31-yard Tage Kaldenberg field goal with just one minute, 36 seconds left. Winterset got the ball first in overtime and made it 17 unanswered points when Kaden Shaw caught a touchdown pass from Casey Kleemeier and Kaldenberg added the extra point.
With their backs up against the wall, the Bombers needed to answer to stay alive.
They did just that when Reece Huen ran the ball in from two yards out.
But instead of kicking the ball on the point after to tie the game and force a second overtime, Ballard decided to go for two and the win.
“I figured (Winterset head coach Zach Sweeney) would do the same thing in the second overtime,” Ballard co-head football coach Kyle Howard said. “I just wanted to strike first.”
The risky call proved the right one. Skyler Noftsger ran the ball in for the winning points to put Ballard at 3-1 heading into district play.
“So proud of how we battled all night,” Howard said. “Our kids played really hard. Winterset is a really good team. They are very physical and well coached.”
Ballard overcame two turnovers to Winterset’s zero. The Bombers outgained the Huskies, 409-383, in total yards and they had a huge 294-123 edge in rushing yards.
Noftsger ran for 185 yards and one touchdown and Connor Drew completed all 10 of his pass attempts for 115 yards and one score. Drew added 30 yards rushing and Huen ran for 71 and caught two passes for 18.
Jack Luster had two catches for 33 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown snag in the second quarter, and Nic Edwards made one 33-yard reception. Kegan Odden chipped in five catches for 31 yards.
On defense, Sam Petersen and Mason Murphy each made 8.5 tackles for the Bombers. Sam Salasek added seven, Joe Hofbauer 6.5 plus two behind the line and Odden 5.5 along with one tackle for loss.
Kleemeier completed 17 of 31 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns for Winterset. Brock Johnson had a huge game receiving for the Huskies with eight catches for 205 yards and one score and Hunter Pashek ran for 84 yards and a touchdown.
The loss put Winterset at 1-3. Two of the Huskies losses have come by one point and the other by just five.
Ballard will host Gilbert (1-3) in its Class 3A District 8 opener Friday. The game will be the Bombers’ homecoming affair and it begins at 7:30 p.m.
Ballard 32, Winterset 31
B 7 7 10 0 8 - 32
W 6 8 0 10 7 - 31
W - Brock Johnson 23 Casey Kleemeier (kick failed), 6:29.
B - Skyler Noftsger 42 run (Brenden Vincent kick), 2:53.
B - Jack Luster 9 pass from Connor Drew (Vincent kick), 3:31.
W - Hunter Pashek 6 run (Kaden Shaw pass from Kleemeier), 0:26.
B - Vincent 30 FG, 4:00.
B - Drew 2 run (Vincent kick), 3:01.
W - Logan Connelly 3 pass from Kleemeier (Tage Kaldenberg kick), 10:52.
W - Kaldenberg 31 FG, 1:36.
W - Shaw 8 pass from Kleemeier (Kaldenberg kick).
B - Reece Huen 2 run (Noftsger run).
Rushes-yards 51-294 28-123
Passing 10-10-0 17-31-0
Passing yards 115 260
Total yards 409 383
Fumbles lost 2 0
Punts-average 3-33.7 5-18.6
Rushing: B - Skyler Noftsger 24-185, Reece Huen 14-71, Connor Drew 12-30, Aaron Kinshaw 1-8. W - Hunter Pashek 19-84, Casey Kleemeier 4-29, Hunter Hughes 3-6, Carter Griffin 1-4, Logan Connelly 1-0.
Passing: B - Drew 10-10-0-115. W - Kleemeier 17-31-0-260.
Receiving: B - Jack Luster 2-33, Nic Edwards 1-33, Kegan Odden 5-31, Huen 2-18. W - Brock Johnson 8-205, Pashek 1-19, Kaden Shaw 3-14, Tage Kaldenberg 1-7, Kruise Kiburz 1-7, Jaden Sweeney 1-7, Connelly 1-3, Ethan Simon 1-(-2).
Tackles: B - Mason Murphy 8.5, Sam Petersen 8.5, Sam Salasek 7, Joe Hofbauer 6.5, Odden 5.5.
Fumble recoveries: W - Griffin, Tyler Brown.