CLEAR LAKE – A gritty effort wasn’t enough to get Ballard past No. 2 Clear Lake in the opening round of Class 3A playoff competition Oct. 30 in Clear Lake.
Ballard played great defense early. But Clear Lake came up with an impressive stretch from the middle of the second quarter into the third period to hand the Bombers a 35-7 setback.
The stout Ballard defense managed to hold Clear Lake scoreless for the entire first quarter, plus nearly seven minutes into the second period. But a 13-yard Brock Adams touchdown run capped a Lion scoring drive to break the ice with five minutes, 10 seconds to go in the opening half.
Then Clear Lake took advantage of a Ballard mistake to open the flood gates.
Pete Swenson picked off a Coy Baker pass and returned it 21 yards to pay dirt just over a minute after Adams’ score to give the Lions a 14-0 lead. Clear Lake then got the ball back one more time before the end of the half, and the Lions made the drive count as Carter Hand found the end zone on a 20-yard run.
Hand’s run gave Clear Lake a 21-0 lead at the half and the Lions continued to build on that advantage in the third quarter.
Pete Swenson had a 10-yard touchdown run with 9:47 left in the third. Five minutes later Ernie Miszewski hauled in Adams’ only completed pass of the day for a 23-yard touchdown to give Clear Lake a 35-0 lead and sew up the game.
Even though the game had been decided Ballard refused to roll over in the fourth quarter. The Bombers kept the Lions off the board in the period and with 2:39 left Jacob Nethers finished off a Ballard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to prevent a shutout loss.
Ballard held Clear Lake under 300 yards of total offense (298) and forced two turnovers. But the Bombers could only muster 188 yards of offense themselves.
Nethers ran for 63 yards on 20 carries in his final game and Isaiah Johnson led Ballard in rushing with 72 yards on only eight attempts. Fullback Zach Thompson tacked on 44 yards on seven carries.
Baker completed 4 of 8 passes for 24 yards and Nethers was 2 of 2 for two yards. Mason Edwards led Ballard in receiving with five catches for 19 yards and Cole Wilson made one grab for seven yards.
Linebacker Marcus Johnson had 11 tackles and Quinton Erickson tallied 10 stops and a fumble recovery for Ballard on defense. Mitchell Broer came through with nine tackles, Ben Claussen chipped in eight and Mason Jensen intercepted a pass for the Bombers, who finished 5-5 a year after going 2-7.
“I’m very proud of this team,” Ballard head coach Al Christian said. “They fought through a lot of adversity during the year. I’m happy for the seniors – they got us back to the playoffs, where we belong.”
Clear Lake improved to 10-0.
Chandler Diercks led the Lions with 116 yards rushing on just six carries. Hand ran for 61 yards on nine attempts and Adams picked up 59 yards rushing on seven carries and was 1 of 3 passing for 23 yards with one touchdown and interception apiece.
Connor Nosbisch racked up 12 tackles and two sacks and Bang MaKean picked up 12 stops and one sack for Clear Lake defensively.
Clear Lake 35, Ballard 7
B 0 0 0 7 – 7
CL 0 21 14 0 – 35
CL – Brock Adams 13 run (Logan Kracht kick), 5:10
CL – Pete Swenson 21 interception return (Kracht kick), 4:07
CL – Carter Hand 20 run (Kracht kick), 1:28
CL – Swenson 10 run (Kracht kick), 9:47
CL – Ernie Miszewski 23 pass from Adams (Kracht kick), 4:38
B – Jacob Nethers 2 run (Andrew Rasmussen kick), 2:39
Team statistics B CL
Rushes-yards 47-162 33-275
Passing 6-10-1 1-4-1
Passing yards 26 23
Total yards 188 298
Fumbles lost 0 1
Punts-average 4-40.3 2-41.0
Rushing: B – Isaiah Johnson 8-72, Jacob Nethers 20-63, Zach Thompson 7-44, Mason Edwards 3-(-4), Coy Baker 3-(-13). CL – Chandler Diercks 6-116, Carter Hand 9-61, Brock Adams 7-59, Alex Gonzalez 4-20, Pete Swenson 2-10, Jared Andersen 4-9, Carter Garrington 1-0.
Passing: B – Baker 4-8-1-24, Nethers 2-2-0-2. CL – Adams 1-3-1-23, Parker Pittzen 0-1-0-0.
Receiving: B – Mason Edwards 5-19, Cole Wilson 1-7. CL – Ernie Miszewski 1-23.
Tackles: B – Marcus Johnson 11, Quinton Erickson 10, Mitchell Broer 9, Ben Claussen 8.
Fumble recoveries: B- Erickson.
Interceptions: B – Mason Jensen.