Big plays by Ballard High School’s football team, especially early on, spurred the host Bruins to another big win Friday night at Pat Crawford Stadium.
Ballard senior Collin Brown went untouched in returning Western’s opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown before senior Jordan Gunter scored on a 91-yard touchdown pass from junior Terrance May on the Bruins’ first offensive possession as Ballard overwhelmed the visiting Warriors. The Bruins went on to win, 42-6 in a game which went to the KHSAA-mandated running clock with 3:33 left in the first half.
The victory followed a momentous win the previous week against Class 2-A power DeSales.
“It was good to see us show some maturity,” Ballard coach Mike Copley said of the Bruins’ play.
Ballard, which faces Manual next week, rolled to a 42-0 lead at the break. However, the Bruins’ first-half offensive statistics weren’t especially stunning considering their gaudy point total — just 222 yards, granted on only 20 plays.
May was a key cog in the Bruins’ early fireworks, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another after senior Quentin Martin’s 19-yard interception return got Ballard into the red zone. By the time halftime homecoming festivities rolled around — cheerleader Shakira Gates was named queen and golfer Cole Roberts took king honors — May had completed 9-of-11 passes for 203 yards. All nine completions were consecutive after May opened the game with an incompletion.
“I didn’t even realize that,” May said of his accuracy streak. “You just kind of get in rhythm.”
May’s second incompletion came when he was trying to avoid the sack and threw the ball at his intended receiver’s feet. May’s first completion was to Gunter, who got behind the defense and coasted down the Warriors’ sideline for the score.
“I have to give it to my (offensive) line. All I had to do was run 90 yards,” said Gunter, who finished with three receptions for 125 yards and also threw for a conversion.
Seniors Odell Smith (27 yards) annd Chase Elliott (four yards) also caught touchdown passes from May, who attempted just two passes after halftime before turning the reins over to junior Christian Horton.
Ballard limited Western, which entered averaging 37.7 points and 425 yards per game, to just 201 yards on 47 plays as the Bruins forced five turnovers (three fumble recoveries, two interceptions). Ballard recovered an onside kick and got a turnover on another kickoff when Western tried to let the ball bounce deep in its own territory and the Bruins pounced on it.
The Warriors, which play at Holy Cross next week, broke up the Bruins’ shutout bid with 7:35 left in the third quarter when junior Tyon Pearson called his own number on second-and-1.
Western junior running back Kenneth Thompson, who carried the ball 26 times, ran for 86 of his 169 yards in just the first quarter.