TAMA – A dominant ground game combined with a big-play passing attack to lead the Ballard football team to a 34-13 Class 3A District 4 victory over South Tama Friday in Tama.
The Bombers rushed for 321 yards and had three different players score a rushing touchdown. Meanwhile, quarterback Coy Baker threw for 163 yards and two scores on just five competitions and the Bomber defense pitched a shutout in two different quarters.
That enabled Ballard to recover from a home loss to Boone last week and improve to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the district.
"We played well after a slow start," Ballard head coach Al Christian said. "It was a good bounce back victory."
South Tama led 7-0 after one quarter as Trojan quarterback Bo Blocker had a 25-yard touchdown run with two minutes, 21 seconds left in the opening period. But the Bombers took control in the second quarter.
Jacob Nethers finished off a scoring drive with a 3-yard run into the end zone and Andrew Rasmussen added the extra point to tie the game with 7:36 to go in the second quarter. Baker and receiver Mason Edwards then teamed for Ballard’s biggest play from scrimmage just before the end of the half.
With 1:39 remaining in the second quarter, Baker connected with Edwards on a 76-yard touchdown pass to give Ballard a 14-7 lead at the half.
The go-ahead score gave the Bombers the momentum and they made sure to keep it in the third quarter. Ballard shut out South Tama in the third and put two more touchdowns on the board to take a commanding 28-7 lead.
Matthew Poots snared a 16-yard touchdown pass from Baker at the 8:14 mark of the third quarter and in the final seconds of the quarter, fullback Zach Thompson finished off a Bomber drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.
Ballard continued to control the game in the fourth quarter. With 7:23 to go in the final period, Isaiah Johnson became the fourth Bomber to score a touchdown when he ran one in from 11-yards out.
South Tama ended its long scoring drought with 2:47 left on a short Jerry Lowe touchdown run, but it was too little, too late for the Trojans as they fell to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in the district.
The Bombers ended up with 484 yards. Nethers turned in his second 200-yard rushing performance of the season with 234 yards on 32 carries, Edwards had 147 receiving yards on four catches, Thompson ran for 46 yards on seven carries and Johnson added 41 yards on eight rushes.
"Nethers had another big game, Thompson has become a great fullback for us and Edwards had a big game at receiver," Christian said. "The offensive line also played well."
The only negative for Ballard on offense came in the turnover department. The Bombers coughed up three fumbles on the night.
On defense Ballard held South Tama to 213 yards and caused one turnover. The Bombers forced the Trojans to be one-dimensional on offense as Blocker only completed two passes for 16 yards with one interception.
Linebackers Marcus Johnson and Quinton Erickson led an active Ballard defense.
Johnson made 16 tackles, including nine solo stops, and he also intercepted a pass and returned it 16 yards. Erickson tallied 11 solo tackles and 14 total stops.
Ben Claussen also registered a double-digit tackle total with 10 and Mark Goldberg and Tyler Kyhl each delivered eight stops. Mitchell Broer tacked on seven tackles and Spencer Struve added six for the Bombers.
Lowe ran for 102 yards on 22 carries and Blocker picked up 72 yards on 15 rushing attempts for South Tama’s offense. Peyton Craun ran for 23 yards and had one catch for two yards and Tyler Martins made one 14-yard reception for the Trojans.
Up next for Ballard is a home game with defending district champion Grinnell (4-2, 2-1).
"We have a big game with a very good Grinnell team this week," Christian said.
The Bomber-Tiger game is set to start at 7:30 p.m. at Rich Strouse Field in Huxley.
Ballard 34, South Tama 13
B 0 14 14 6 – 34
ST 7 0 0 6 – 13
ST – Bo Blocker 25 run (Adrian Castanon kick), 2:21
B – Jacob Nethers 3 run (Andrew Rasmussen kick), 7:36
B – Mason Edwards 76 pass from Coy Baker (Rasmussen kick), 1:39
B – Matthew Poots 16 pass from Baker (Rasmussen kick), 8:14
B – Zach Thompson 3 run (Rasmussen kick), 0:17
B – Isaiah Johnson 11 run (kick failed), 7:23
ST – Jerry Lowe 3 run (kick failed), 2:47
Team statistics B ST
Rushes-yards 47-321 46-197
Passing 5-14-0 2-5-1
Passing yards 163 16
Total yards 484 213
Fumbles lost 3 0
Punts-average 1-44.0 6-39.0
Rushing: B – Jacob Nethers 32-234, Zach Thompson 7-46, Isaiah Johnson 8-41. ST – Jerry Lowe 22-102, Bo Blocker 15-72, Peyton Craun 6-23, Dylan Kalinay 3-0.
Passing: B – Coy Baker 5-14-0-163. ST – Blocker 2-5-1-16.
Receiving: B – Mason Edwards 4-147, Matthew Poots 1-16. ST – Tyler Martins 1-14, Craun 1-2.
Tackles: B – Marcus Johnson 16, Quinton Erickson 14, Ben Claussen 10, Mark Goldberg 8, Tyler Kyhl 8, Mitchell Broer 7, Spencer Struve 6.
Interceptions: B – M. Johnson.