HUXLEY – Defense kept Ballard in the game for three quarters, but a couple late big plays helped Dallas Center-Grimes pull away for a 26-0 victory over the Bombers in a Class 3A District 4 contest Friday.
The Bombers were brilliant defensively for the first three quarters, despite constantly being put in bad spots due to consistently poor field position. But DCG used a 49-yard pass play and a 52-yard run to produce two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. and Ballard’s offense never got on track.
"We don’t like giving up those plays at the end there, but the defense played a pretty good ball game," Ballard head coach Al Christian said. "Offensively, we just couldn’t find a way to get it done."
DCG’s Michael Lortz kicked a 39-yard field goal with four minutes, seven seconds left in the second quarter for the first points of the game. The Mustangs had taken over on the Ballard 45, but only moved to the 22 and had to settle for a field goal.
Neither team scored on its next possession. Ballard took over with 1:32 left and the Bombers tried one deep pass play, but settled for running some clock and punting from their 25.
However a bad snap went over punter Brandon Kane’s head and he was forced to fall on it in the end zone for a safety to give DCG a 5-0 lead going into the locker room.
The Ballard offense sputtered all through the first half. The Bombers only had 78 yards of total offense on the night against a sturdy Mustang defense.
Ballard did manage one good drive. It came on their second possession of the third quarter.
After forcing a DCG punt, Ballard took over on its own 17 and marched down inside the Mustang 10. Jacob Nethers had runs of 30, 15 and 10 on the drive and the Bombers were also helped by a 15-yard facemask penalty.
Ballard made it down to the Mustang 6 yard-line. There the Bombers faced third-and-5, but a 12-man-in-the-huddle penalty pushed the ball back to the 11.
A Nethers run, plus an incomplete pass, netted only one more yard as the Bombers turned the ball over on downs.
"Still only down 5-0 - that (drive) could’ve made a difference," Christian said. "But a penalty cost us a little bit and we didn’t make a play on the next one."
Ballard forced DCG to punt on its next drive, but the Mustang defense returned the favor. After DCG got the ball back Mustang quarterback Andrew Kramer made a great play by scrambling away from pressure, buying time and finding Douglas Heritage for a 49-yard pass to the Bomber 6.
Kramer ran it in on the very next play to give his team a 12-0 advantage.
On its next possession Ballard turned the ball over on an interception and DCG took over on its own 48. On the Mustangs’ first offensive play Chaz Chambers ran one up the middle and then broke down the sidelines for a 52-yard touchdown with 8:15 to go in the final period.
Kramer iced the game in the final seconds by capping a 55-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Kramer completed 7 of 15 passes for 101 yards with one interception and he ran for 56 yards and two scores on 17 carries. Chambers picked up 113 yards rushing on 22 carries and Dakota Claussen caught two passes for 29 yards to help the Mustangs improve to 7-1 overall and 5-0 in 3A District 4.
Nethers ran for 101 yards on 23 carries, Baker completed 2 of 11 passes for 13 yards, Matthew Poots had one catch for eight yards and Mason Edwards made a 5-yard reception for Ballard on offense. Marcus Johnson made 17 tackles, Ben Claussen totaled 13, Mitchell Broer had 11, Tyler Kyhl and Lane Volkmann chipped in 10 apiece and Tyson Pritchard came through with an interception for the Bombers defensively.
The loss put Ballard at 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the district. The Bombers are now down to a winner-take-all game against Newton (4-4, 2-3) next Friday for the right to advance to the playoffs.
"Next week’s a playoff game for us," Christian said. "We can still get in if we win, so we’ve got to approach it like it’s our first playoff game and try to regroup and win that game."
The Bombers’ game against Newton next Friday will be at Newton. It is set to start at 7:30 p.m.
DCG 26, Ballard 0
DCG 0 5 0 21 – 26
B 0 0 0 0 – 0
DCG – Michael Lortz 39 FG, 4:07
DCG – Safety, 0:35
DCG – Andrew Kramer 6 run (Lortz kick), 10:01
DCG – Chaz Chambers 52 run (Lortz kick), 8:15
DCG – Kramer 1 run (Lortz kick), 0:19
Team statistics DCG B
First downs 11 6
Rushes-yards 45-183 32-65
Passing 7-15-1 2-11-1
Passing yards 101 13
Total yards 284 78
Fumbles lost 0 0
Punts-average 7-36.5 8-31.4
Penalties-yards 4-35 4-35
Rushing: DCG – Chaz Chambers 22-113, Andrew Kramer 17-56, Noah Weeks 5-12. B – Jacob Nethers 23-101, Isaiah Johnson 4-6.
Passing: DCG – Kramer 7-15-1-101. Ballard – Coy Baker 2-11-1-13.
Receiving: DCG – Douglas Heritage 1-49, Dakota Clausen 2-29, Chambers 2-15. B – Matthew Poots 1-8, Mason Edwards 1-5.
Tackles: B – Marcus Johnson 17, Ben Claussen 13, Mitchell Broer 11, Tyler Kyhl 10, Lane Volkmann 10, Spencer Struve 9.