Ballard stuns No. 10 Algona with unbelievable second half: Bombers blast Bulldogs, 49-21

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune
Eli Rouse

The Ballard football team played its best game of the season to pull off the Class 3A District 2 shocker of the season Friday with a stunning 49-21 victory over 10th-ranked Algona at Algona.

After going scoreless in the first half the Bombers completely stunned the Bulldogs over the final two quarters. They went up 22-14 after three quarters then put four more touchdowns on the board over the final 12 minutes to turn the game into a rout.

"It was a fun night," Ballard co-head coach Kyle Howard said. "I'm really proud of how our kids responded to adversity."

Running back Eli Rouse turned in his third-straight big game on offense and the Ballard defense came up huge in the second half to even the Bombers' overall record at 4-4 and 3A District 2 mark at 2-2. Algona fell to 5-3 and 2-2 respectively.

Here is what we learned from the Bombers' impressive victory

Turning it on at the right time

Ballard trailed 8-0 at the half. Then a light switch came on and the Bombers were unstoppable over the final two quarters.

"Our guys played well in all facets of the game," Ballard co-head coach Corey Vespestad said. "They responded to half-time adjustments and did a great job executing them.  I'm proud of their effort."

Ballard scored 22 points in the third quarter and 27 in the fourth. The running game was clicking as both Eli Rouse and Gabe Christensen hit 100 yards rushing.

Rouse continued his ascension into becoming one of the best backs in 3A by rushing for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries. He also came up big in the return game with an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

Christensen finished right at 100 yards rushing on 16 carries. He also ran for two touchdowns.

Quarterback Luke Hartsook only completed 2 of 5 passes for seven yards, but he did a great job managing the game. Bryce Haessig made both receptions for Ballard in the passing game.

Defense comes up big

Ballard did a tremendous job down the stretch. They shut out one of the best passing attacks in 3A over the final two quarters, giving up only one touchdown to the Algona offense for the game and forcing five turnovers.

Jayden Swain

Algona quarterback Tyler Manske only completed 11 of 26 passes for 105 yards and he had one interception. Star Bulldog receiver Trevon Smith only had four catches for 38 yards.

Ballard also limited Algona to 50 yards rushing on just 1.8 yards per carry.

Jayden Cattell and Jayden Swain both scored a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery and Blake Stover and Grant Anderson also recovered one fumble apiece for the Bombers. Swain also had six tackles, including one tackle for loss, Cattell made one tackle and Stover ended up with three stops.

Jayden Cattell

Colby Calvert added an interception and one tackle. Nick Wacha stepped up with nine tackles and one sack and Jacob Ihle chipped in five stops.

The defense helped Ballard easily overcome two fumbles of its own, one of which was returned 72 yards for a touchdown by Smith, plus an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Bulldogs' Porter Reffer.

Bombers finish with Gilbert

Ballard ends the regular season this Friday with a trip to Gilbert to take on a winless Tiger team (0-8, 0-4).

"We need to limit mistakes this week against Gilbert," Howard said.

Ballard is in contention for a playoff spot.

The top two teams in each of the six 3A districts automatically qualify and then there are four at-large spots determined by the IHSAA RPI ratings. A total of 16 teams qualify for state in each class and Ballard ranks 17th in the 3A RPI heading into the Gilbert game.

Ballard 49, Algona 21

Ballard    0        0        22        27 — 49

Algona    0        8          6          7 — 21

Individual statistical leaders

Rushing: Ballard — Eli Rouse 32-189. Algona — Wyatt Garman 6-24.

Passing: Ballard — Luke Hartsook 2-5-0-7. Algona — Tyler Manske 11-26-1-105.

Receiving: Ballard — Bryce Haessig 2-7. Algona — Trevon Smith 4-38.

Tackles; Ballard — Nick Wacha 9. Algona — Jaxon Woodyard 8.

Sacks: Ballard — Nick Wacha 1. Algona — Smith 1, Woodyard 1.

Fumble recoveries: Ballard — Jayden Swain 1, Jayden Cattell 1, Blake Stover 1, Grant Anderson 1. Algona — Smith 1, Matt Hoover 1.

Interceptions: Ballard — Colby Calvert 1.