Ballard 48, Atlantic 0: What we learned from the Bombers' emphatic win

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

HUXLEY — Ballard football is sure loving getting to play on its home field again.

The Bombers didn't play at their home last year due to the 2020 derecho storm making it uninhabitable, and they started off 2021 with back-to-back road losses to Bondurant-Farrar and ADM. But last week, Ballard opened the newly-renovated Rich Strouse Field with a 26-0 victory over Boone and Friday the Bombers followed that up with a decisive 48-0 victory over Atlantic to even up their record at 2-2.

"This year is about playing for more than just ourselves," Ballard senior lineman Kale Krogh said. "We're playing for the community and the seniors who never got to play here last year. We're trying to emphasize every game we get on this field, and putting up a shutout two weeks in a row is how you do it."

Ballard wide receiver Jayden Cattell celebrates with Chance Lande after making a 71-yard touchdown catch against Atlantic on the final play of the first quarter at Rich Strouse Field Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Huxley, Iowa. The Bombers went on to win, 48-0.

Here's what we learned from Bombers' impressive victory over the Trojans:

Ashton Hermann is a playmaker

The Bomber quarterback completed 9 of 14 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns and he also ran for 140 yards and two scores. Hermann didn't commit a turnover and he displayed big-play ability by throwing touchdown passes of 71 and 45 yards and adding a 52-yard run.

"The offense looks to me as a leader," Hermann said. "I just have to keep making plays. Get Jayden (Cattell), Bryce (Haessig) and Jacob (Ihle) the ball in open space and keep making plays."

Ballard quarterback Ashton Hermann threw for three touchdowns and ran for two to lead the Bombers to a 48-0 victory over Atlantic Friday at Rich Strouse Field Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Huxley, Iowa.

Cattell, Ihle are weapons at receiver

Cattell and Ihle combined to make six catches for 172 yards and they each caught a touchdown against Atlantic. Cattell had the big play of the game with a 71-yard touchdown reception on the final play of the first quarter.

"I know if I run hard, Ashton is going to get the ball to me in the right spot," Cattell said. "The ball will be right there."

Cattell and Ihle each caught a touchdown against Boone as well. They combined for eight catches and 154 yards in that game.

Defense is thriving at home

Ballard hasn't given up a point yet in two games at Rich Strouse Field. The Bombers are swarming the football and making sure tackles. Atlantic had only 58 yards and Ballard forced three turnovers.

"We've looked back, watched tape and found out how we could get better as a unit," Ballard cornerback Colby Calvert said. "It's really starting to show these last two weeks."

Ballard defensive end Kale Krogh takes down Atlantic's running back Dante Hedrington during the first quarter of the Bombers' 48-0 victory over the Trojans at Rich Strouse Field Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Huxley, Iowa.

Calvert had five tackles and an interception Friday. Blake Fleischmann and Nick Wacha each made three stops behind the line, Blake Stover intercepted a pass and Beau Warg recovered a fumble.

Ground game comes alive

Hermann and tailback Gabe Christensen combined for 225 yards rushing on Friday. An improved offensive line played a big role in the Bombers' success.

Kicking game rebounds 

One area Ballard didn't do so well at early Friday was the kicking game. A missed kick after the first Bomber touchdown was followed by a botched attempt after the second score. But the Bombers quickly settled down. They converted two 2-point conversions in the second quarter and Connor Utley made two extra points in the third quarter.

Now the real season starts

Ballard begins Class 3A District 2 competition next Friday at Humboldt. 

"We're in a really tough district," Ballard co-head coach Kyle Howard said. "There are no gimmies in our district. We're going to be in a dogfight every week from here on out."

Ballard 48, Atlantic 0

Atlantic      0         0        0        0 — 0

Ballard     12        16      14        6 — 48

Individual statistical leaders

Rushing: B — Ashton Hermann 140. A — Dante Hedrington 15-27.

Passing: B — Hermann 9-15-0-186. A — Caden Anderson 7-12-2-25.

Receiving: B — Jacob Ihle 4-96. A — Ethan Sturm 3-12.