Ballard quarterback Tyler Owen scrambled for his life, but he still found his receivers and led the Bruins to a 30-14 football victory over visiting Oldham County on Friday night.
By completing nine of his first 10 passes and 12 of 17 for 172 yards and one touchdown for the game, Owen led Ballard into the Class 6-A playoff quarterfinals, where the Bruins (9-3) will take a six-game winning streak against archrival Eastern next Friday night at Ballard. Eastern won at Henderson County 21-17.
In assessing Ballard’s streak, Owen said: “We made goals. We want to get to the championship game. We’re coming out each week to show people that’s where we belong.”
The Bruins, who beat Oldham County 21-14 earlier in the season, broke a 14-14 tie when Owen found Rollin Green alone in the end zone on a 38-yard TD strike with 2:07 left in the first half. That was the third TD in a span of 33 seconds during a wild ending to the second quarter.
“Oldham County was trying to take everything inside away from us,” coach Mike Jackson said. “It’s good to have a guy like Tyler who can scramble and play like that.”
Green caught five passes for 100 yards, including a 33-yarder early in the third quarter.
“Oldham County was holding Cam Lewis (Ballard’s No. 1 receiver), and that shows they had a lot of respect for Cam,” Jackson said. “Cam wasn’t going to catch many passes tonight, but he blocked well. But teams forget about Rollin.”
“Green runs great routes,” Owen said. “We have a good chemistry going. He knows where I’m going to throw the ball, and he finds the space (to catch it).”
Oldham County finished 5-7.
A standout for Oldham County was senior running back Jacob Taylor, who scored twice and gained 179 yards on 25 carries, including an 80-yard TD run down the left sideline that created a 14-14 tie with 2:26 left in the first half. Taylor had 159 yards on 17 runs in the first half.
“That kid has responded well all year,” Brown said. “He’s had a great season, gaining over 1,400 yards. He finally dedicated himself and had a phenomenal season. I’m proud of these kids.”
Ballard took a 14-7 lead on a 5-yard run by the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Owen with 2:40 left in the first half. Two plays earlier, Kenny Battle of Ballard broke loose for a 44-yard run to the Oldham County 24.
Fourteen seconds after Owen scored, Taylor crossed the goal line on his 80-yard jaunt. Then Owen and Green teamed up for that TD bomb. Green was all alone when he caught the ball in the end zone.
“We got pressure on them in the backfield, but Owen just made some good plays while scrambling around,” Brown said. “And we lost coverage, but that’s part of it.”
The teams combined for four TDs in the last 3:26 of the first half, with Taylor’s 6-yard run tying the score 7-7. Forty-six seconds after that, Ballard went ahead 14-7.
“When it was 7-7, we knew we had to answer to get our fans and players into the game,” Owen said. “Once we score, we get on a run.”
B–Bennie Berry 1 run (Andrew Fantini kick); OC–Jacob Taylor 6 run (Sean Nuernberger kick); Ballard–Tyler Owen 5 run (Fantinio kick); OC–Taylor 80 run (Nuernberger kick); B–Rollin Green 38 pass from Owen (Fantini kick); Ballard–safety, Ballard’s Sean Hammonds tackled OC’s Chris Caudill in end zone; Ballard–David Daniels 18 run (Fantini kick).