HUXLEY — Ballard’s offense came through when it mattered against Boone, scoring three touchdowns in the second half to give the Bombers a 19-14 victory to open the season Friday at Rich Strouse Field.
Ballard broke a scoreless tie with a 68-yard, 14-play scoring drive in the third quarter, capped by a 1-yard Connor Drew touchdown run. The Bombers added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to hold off a late Boone comeback attempt.
“The first half was a little rough,” Drew said. “We finally got it going in the second half. We’ve got a great defense out there to help us out.”
Ballard prevailed despite five turnovers and 10 penalties. The Bombers coughed up the ball four times in the first quarter alone, but thanks to a tremendous defense, they kept the Toreadors off the board until the fourth quarter.
“They don’t happen too many times,” Drew said. “If we turn it over, we just shut them back down. We’ve got a great defense out there to help us out.”
Boone broke through against Ballard’s tough defense early in the fourth quarter, when Toreador quarterback Morgan Smith ran one in from 11 yards out to finish off a 71-yard drive.
But Ballard came right back with its second touchdown drive. The Bombers got Boone to jump offsides on a fourth-and-3 from the Toreador 18 to keep the drive alive, and three plays later, Rylee Davidson pounded into the end zone from two yards out.
Kyler Watson came up with a huge defensive play for the Bombers on Boone’s next drive. Watson intercepted a Smith pass on the Boone 20 with 4:51 remaining in the fourth.
On the first Bomber play from scrimmage after the turnover, Donovan Bertand broke through the Boone defense for a 20-yard touchdown run to give his team a 19-6 cushion.
“We got it going in the second half,” Drew said. “The offense is clicking now.”
Boone answered with a 77-yard scoring drive, capped by a 27-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Ryan Hulse with 2:36 remaining. But Ballard caught the Toreadors off guard with a 55-yard pass from Drew to Edwards on its second play after getting the ball back, and that enabled the Bombers to run out the rest of the clock inside the red zone to end the game.
“We just fought together,” Ballard linebacker Sam Salasek said. “We understood that we all had to do our jobs.”
The Bomber defense held Boone to 166 yards, almost all coming in the Toreadors’ final two drives.
“We bent at the end, but we didn’t break and that’s what (co-head coach Corey) Vespestad always tells us — to bend, but don’t break,” Salasek said. “We found that tonight and came together as a team.”
Salasek had 7.5 tackles and one interception and Sam Petersen recorded 6.5 tackles for Ballard on defense. Watson chipped in 1.5 tackles to go along with his interception, Mason Murphy contributed five tackles and a sack and Logan Harmeyer delivered 4.5 stops plus a sack.
After a slow start, the Bomber offense finished with solid 368 total yards.
Drew completed 15 of 20 passes for 214 yards with two interceptions and he also ran the ball for 59 yards. Edwards had five catches for 124 yards, Nolan Schonhorst made six grabs for 44, Jacob Ihle had two receptions for 42 and Nate Nessa chipped in 38 yards on the ground.
Smith was 12 of 30 for 128 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for Boone. Tegan Bock had three catches for 47 yards and Hulse two for 40.
Up next for Ballard is back-to-back road games against Carroll and Dallas Center-Grimes. The Bombers face Carroll (0-1) next Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Carroll.
Ballard 19, Boone 14
Boone 0 0 0 14 - 14
Ballard 0 0 7 12 - 19
Ballard - Connor Drew 1 run (Connor Utley kick), 4:53.
Boone - Morgan Smith 11 run (pass failed), 10:16.
Ballard - Rylee Davidson 2 run (kick failed), 5:57.
Ballard - Donovan Bertrand 20 run (run failed), 4:42.
Boone - Ryan Hulse 27 pass from Smith (Cole Burge run), 2:36.
Team statistics Boone Ballard
First downs 4 18
Rushes-yards 16-38 46-154
Passing 11-29-2 15-20-2
Passing yards 128 214
Total yards 166 368
Fumbles lost 0 3
Punts-average 5-33.8 2-31.0
Penalties-yards 9-60 10-75
Rushing: Boone - Gage Morain 5-23, Cole Burge 4-15, Morgan Smith 4-2, Kyle Sharp 1-2, Tegan Bock 1-(-1), Ryan Ungs 1-(-3). Ballard - Connor Drew 20-59, Nate Nessa 13-38, Donovan Bertrand 4-19.
Passing: Boone - Morgan Smith 12-30-2-128. Ballard - Drew 15-20-2-214.
Receiving: Boone - Bock 3-47, Ryan Hulse 2-40, Tyler Lennon 1-12, Burge 3-11, Marcus McPartland 1-10, Morain 1-4, Ungs 1-4. Ballard - Nic Edwards 5-124, Nolan Schonhorst 6-44, Jacob Ihle 2-42.
Tackles: Boone - Bock 11, Morain 9, Hulse 6, Ungs 5.5, Jacob McIntire 5.5. Ballard - Sam Salasek 7.5, Sam Petersen 6.5, Mason Murphy 5, Logan Harmeyer 4.5, Connor Finch 2.5, Nick Wacha 2.5.
Sacks: Boone - Hulse, Morain 0.5, McIntire 0.5. Ballard - Harmeyer, Murphy.
Fumble recoveries: Boone - McIntire, Ungs.
Interceptions: Boone - Gavin Miller, Burge. Ballard - Salasek, Kyler Watson.