Cubs struggle early in loss to Ballard

Story and photos by Joe Randleman
Cubs struggle early in loss to Ballard

HUXLEY - It was a night to forget for the Nevada football team when the Cubs took on Ballard Friday in a Class 3A District 6 game at Huxley.

The Cubs gave up five unanswered touchdowns to start the game and never had a chance after that, suffering a 56-14 setback.

“There is a reason Ballard is leading the district,” Nevada head coach John Pelzer said. “They are a solid football team.”

Ballard led 28-0 by the end of the first quarter. Quinton Erickson threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cole Wilson and ran one in from 12 yards out and Isaiah Johnson added 57 and 2-yard touchdown runs for the Bombers.

A 37-yard Erickson run capped another Bomber scoring drive with seven minutes, 12 seconds left in the second quarter. Nevada got its first big break of the game on its ensuing possession as Chase Dobson raced up the middle and then down the sidelines for a long 81-yard touchdown scamper with 6:51 to go in the second.

Nevada had squandered a great scoring opportunity in its previous drive. The Cubs moved the ball 65 yards down to the Bomber 6-yard line - with a 16-yard Peyton Sharp run being the biggest play of the drive for Nevada.

But back-to-back negative running plays, plus a run for no gain left Nevada with fourth and goal on the 10. A field goal attempt by Jake Kapustka was off the mark to end the drive with no points.

Ballard upped its lead to 49-6 at the half as Johnson had a 17-yard touchdown run and Nathan Macki ran one in from four yards out in the final six minutes of the half for the Bombers.

Fullback Kenny Randolph capped Ballard’s opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown run for the Bombers’ final points.

Nevada put up one more touchdown in the second half when Traye Pelzer finished off a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

“I am proud of the effort displayed by our kids,” John Pelzer said. “We were once again playing shorthanded, with two starters not dressed, but the effort was there.”

Despite being outmanned Nevada did a good job running the ball. The Cubs piled up 217 rushing yards and finished with 263 yards in total offense.

“Offensively, that’s the best we played in several weeks,” Pelzer said.

Dobson put up 171 rushing on 23 carries in his first game back after missing last week with an ankle injury. Sharp picked up 40 yards rushing on just three carries and he caught two passes for 31 yards.

Traye completed 3 of 9 passes for 46 yards with an interception. Alex Avalos ran for 16 yards on seven carries and Lane Hillock made one reception for 15 yards.

Pelzer also gave credit to the Cub offensive line for enabling the team to move the ball in spurts.

Defensively, Nevada struggled to slow down Ballard’s potent up-tempo rushing attack. The Bombers ran for 422 yards and finished with 515 yards in total offense.

“On defense, it wasn’t our finest moment,” Pelzer said. “We had one coverage breakdown and one alignment issue directly leading to two of their scores. Other than that, we just didn’t make a lot of plays on defense.”

Alex Good made six tackles, Hillock had five stops, Kapustka tallied four, Pelzer finished with 3.5 and Avalos and Sharp each had three for the Cubs on defense. Dobson, Alex Peebles and Mark Trullinger each made one tackle for loss for Nevada.

Erickson completed 4 of 4 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown and he ran for 172 yards and two scores on just nine carries for Ballard on offense. Johnson ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries for the Bombers, who improved to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the district.

Nevada dropped to 2-6 and 0-5 respectively. The Cubs close out the season this Friday versus Newton (5-3, 3-2).

“This week is a challenge, with Newton coming to town and jockeying for a playoff position,” Pelzer said.

The Cubs’ game with the Cardinals will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Cub Stadium.

Ballard 56, Nevada 14

N 0 6 0 8 - 14

B 28 21 7 0 - 56

Scoring

First quarter

B - Quinton Erickson 12 run (Brandon Kane kick), 10:45

B - Isaiah Johnson 57 run (Kane kick), 8:03

B - Johnson 2 run (Kane kick), 3:59

B - Cole Wilson 45 pass from Erickson (Kane kick), 1:36

Second quarter

B - Erickson 37 run (Kane kick), 7:12

N - Chase Dobson 81 run (kick failed), 6:51

B - Johnson 17 run (Kane kick), 5:54

B - Nathan Macki 4 run (Kane kick), 2:43

Third quarter

B - Kenny Randolph 1 run (Kane kick), 4:00

Fourth quarter

N - Traye Pelzer 1 run (Dobson run), 10:05

Team statistics N B

First downs 7 12

Rushes-yards 45-217 36-422

Passing 3-9-1 4-4-0

Passing yards 46 93

Total yards 263 515

Fumbles lost 0 0

Punts-average 5-25.6 1-36.0

Penalties-yards 5-45 6-55

Individual statistics

Rushing: N - Chase Dobson 23-171, Peyton Sharp 3-40, Alex Avalos 7-16, Traye Pelzer 11-(-5), Andrew Strottman 1-(-5). B - Isaiah Johnson 11-201, Quinton Erickson 9-172, John Fulk 8-33, Kenny Randolph 4-9, Nathan Macki 1-4.

Passing: N - Pelzer 3-9-1-46. B - Erickson 4-4-0-93.

Receiving: N - Sharp 2-31, Lane Hillock 1-15. B - Nathan Macki 3-48, Cole Wilson 1-45.

Tackles: N - Alex Good 6, Hillock 5, Jake Kapustka 4, Pelzer 3.5, Sharp 3, Avalos 3. B - Ben Claussen 11.5, Marcus Johnson 11, Landon Manfull 6, Wyatt Terrones 5.5, Kenton Brekke 5, Seth Moore 5, Cade Wilson 5.

Interceptions: B - Kobe Schulze.