Nevada 34, Ballard 13: What we learned from Cubs' first win vs. Bombers since 1999

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

HUXLEY — The fifth-ranked Nevada football team survived a gutsy effort by Ballard to earn a 34-13 rivalry victory over the Bombers Friday during homecoming week.

Nevada trailed 13-7 at the half, but the Cubs took advantage of a short field and the big-play ability of Caeden DaSilva to blow past Ballard in the second half for their first victory over the Bombers since 1999. Nevada also avenged a 28-7 loss to Ballard in last year's Class 3A playoffs.

"It feels really good," Nevada quarterback James Edwards said. "They got us last year in the playoffs, so we all wanted this really bad. This was a big win for all of us."

The victory put Nevada at 6-0 overall and 2-0 in 3A District 2. Ballard fell to 2-4 and 0-2.

Here is what we learned from Nevada's big rivalry victory over the Bombers. 

Nevada wide receiver Caeden DaSilva catches the ball in front of Ballard cornerback Colby Calvert for a 39-yard touchdown reception during the first quarter of the No. 5 Cubs' 34-13 rivalry win over the Bombers Friday at Huxley.

Nevada takes advantage of short field

Nevada's first three touchdown drives all went for under 45 yards. The longest was 43 yards.

"We're not good enough right now to overcome negative plays and penalties," Ballard co-head coach Kyle Howard said. "When we get in our own way, it's really tough for us."

It took Nevada just one play to score its first touchdown when DaSilva hauled in a 39-yard reception over the middle with 9:28 left in the first quarter.

Edwards had a 21-yard touchdown run to finish off a 43-yard drive to start the second half for Nevada. That was the go-ahead touchdown of the game.

The punting game hurt Ballard. The Bombers only averaged 26 yards on six punts.

Ballard displays a lot of guts

Ballard wide receiver Jayden Cattell gets tackle by Nevada's defensive back Seth Brown after gaining a first down on a reception during the first quarter of the Bombers' 34-13 loss to the No. 5 Cubs Friday in Huxley.

Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, Ballard took a big gamble and went for it on fourth down on its own 15. The huge gamble paid off big.

Eli Rouse got to the edge on a run and a big block by Bryce Haessig sprung an 85-yard touchdown run to tie the game.

Ballard also scored right before the half to take a 13-7 lead into the locker room. An 18-yard Haessig reception set up a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ashton Hermann to Gabe Christensen with just four seconds left in the half.

DaSilva is sensational

DaSilva was the difference for Nevada on offense.

Ballard did a great job taking away Nevada's powerful ground game. But DaSilva had the big early touchdown reception and catch to set up Edwards' go-ahead score in the second, then came up with the play of the game.

He caught a short pass from Edwards, used a nice spin and great footwork to cut back to the other side and outrace the Ballard defense for an 80-yard touchdown.

"I just caught the ball and I saw they were coming to my right so I took a cut," DaSilva said. "I saw a dude, spun, saw open field and just ran."

DaSilva ended up with five catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

"DaSilva was as good as advertised," Howard said. "We had a hard time competing with that."

Nevada 34, Ballard 13

Nevada        7        0        20       7 — 34

Ballard         0      13         0        0 — 13

Individual statistical leaders

Rushing: Nevada — Cason Stevenson 12-67. Ballard — Eli Rouse 13-137.

Passing: Nevada — James Edwards 6-10-1-172. Ballard — Ashton Hermann 14-22-79.

Receiving: Nevada — Caeden DaSilva 6-172. Ballard — Jacob Ihle 3-25