Rams end gridiron season at 1-8 after home loss to Ballard

A football season that started with high hopes with the Rams under the leadership of coach Mitch Moore ended Friday with a 1-8 record, the same record as the 2016 season.

With a comfortable temperature and a south breeze that challenged quarterbacks and kickers, the Rams lost 49-14 to the Ballard Bombers from Huxley. The Rams were plagued by turnovers, with four fumbles and an interception in the first half. The entire second half was played with a continuous clock.

The game was scoreless for the first six minutes. With 5:22 to play in the first quarter the Bombers wrapped up a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a quarterback keep play by senior QB Isaac Schafbuch. The Bombers were penalized on the play, moving the point after touchdown kick back, but Brenden Vincent made the kick and the Bombers led 7-0.

The visitors scored again with 1:36 to play in the quarter. The Rams received the kickoff after Ballard’s TD on their own 37 yard line, and a face mask penalty against Ballard moved the ball up to the 50 yard line. On the first play from scrimmage the Rams fumbled and the Bombers had the ball on their own 47 yard line. It took the Bombers nine plays to cover the 53 yards needed for a TD, with Skyler Noftsger covering the last yard to score. Vincent’s kick missed that time, and the score was 13-0.

The Rams turned the ball over again with a fumble on the kickoff, and the Bombers had the ball. They scored with 11:20 to play in the second quarter, with the drive capped by a 25-yard Shafbuch run. The kick was good and the score was 20-0.

The kickoff after the Ballard TD went into the end zone and came back to the Ram 20 yard line. The Rams held on to it for two plays, but at third and 9 on the Ram 21 the Bombers collected the ball again after a bad snap, claiming the ball on the Ram 12 yard line. Shafbuch passed to Kegan Odden on their first play for another TD. The PAT missed again and the Bombers were ahead 26-0 with 10:55 to play in the half.

On the Rams’ next possession they started with a 31-yard pass play to Carter Morton, and they made it to the Ballard 24 yard line before they fumbled again, the fourth fumble of the game. Ballard had the ball on their own 28 yard line with 9:21 to play in the half.
They scored again with 4:48 to play with a drive that finished with a 15-yard Schafbuch run. The snap on the PAT wasn’t good and the Vincent didn’t get the ball in the air. The score was 32-0.

The Bombers scored again in short order after Blake Hegna intercepting a Brent Riley pass and ran 43 yards to score. On the PAT the snap was bad, but Vincent picked it up and managed to make it to the end zone for the two-point conversion. With 3:05 to play in the half the score was 40-0.

The more experienced Ram quarterback, junior Clint Dennhardt, had started the game at running back while sophomore Riley played QB. Dennhardt went in as QB on the Rams’ next possession.

Ballard scored one more time in the first half. The Rams punted to end their possession, and Ballard had the ball on their own 38 yard line. They scored 10 plays later, this time with Noftsger running the final 15 yards. The PAT was good and with 20 seconds to play in the half, the score was 47-0.

Riley was back in as QB to start the second half. The point difference was large enough that the clock ran continuously.

The Rams received the second half kickoff and after penalty on the reception they started on their own 10 yard line. The punted from their own 27 yard line, but going into the wind, Austin Delp’s punt went only 19 yards to the Rams’ 44 yard line. The Ram defense held and the Bombers punted from the Ram 49 yard line. With the wind at his back, Bomber kicker Conner Drew managed to place his kick at the Rams’ 1 yard line. Two plays later the Bombers scored two points with a safety and the score was 49-0.

The Rams finally got on the scoreboard with 8:30 to play in the fourth quarter. The Rams started the drive on their own 22 yard line. Riley hit Carter Morton with a 21-yard pass, and then Trey Hinote picked up 16 yards on a pass play. Morton picked up another 21 yard in a pass play in the drive. After nine plays the Rams were third and goal on the 2 yard line. Dennhardt cross the goal line, but a penalty nullified the TD and the ball was moved back to the 7 yard line. At fourth and goal on the 7 Riley passed to Hinote for a TD, and the Rams were able to complete their season without any shut-outs. Leo Marques was accurate with the point after touchdown kick and the score was 49-7.

Ballard’s less experienced players went into the game after that score. Ballard was held on downs and after a punt the Rams had the ball on their 38 yard line. Riley’s passes kept hitting their marks, with Hinote and Colby Kafer as his receivers. The Rams scored with 2:32 left in the game on a pass to Hinote. The PAT was good again and the score was 49-14.
That was the final score for the game.

The Rams finished with a negative 21 yards rushing on 15 carries. They had 281 yards of offense, 271 of them by Riley. The net offense was 260 yards.

Ballard finished the game with 368 yards of offense, 293 of them on the ground.
The Rams finished the season at 1-8, with their only win being on the road against Iowa Falls-Alden. The Ballard Bombers finished 5-4.

It was the last game for seniors Justice Davis, Marques, Joe Towers, Jordan Patterson, Wade Adcock, Conner Gibson, Cayden Gerdes, Jake Berns, Charlie Gunn, Austin Easterlie, Kyle Peters, Charlie Minnehan, Caden Wilson, Jared Marshall and Pedro Salinas.


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