By Ted Waddell
GRAHAMSVILLE October 30, 2001 If one play set the tone of Saturdays Section IX Class D football game between Tri-Valley and visiting Roscoe, it was when the Blue Devils recovered their onsides kickoff at the start of the game.
From there it was all downhill for the Bears, as Roscoe (6-2, 3-1 Class D) romped to a 40-30 victory despite several spirited attempts by the Bears to stage a comeback win.
On the opening play from scrimmage, Roscoes Brian Ballard broke into the ranks of local high school football players to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
The 18-year-old junior took to the field with 999 yards under his pads, and on his first run of the afternoon Ballard sneaked over that magical barrier with a 4-yard carry.
But Ballard wasnt quite finished, as he racked up a total of 196 yards on 23 carries, including four touchdowns.
Asked how it felt to break the 1,000 yard mark, Ballard said, It was all right. It wasnt anything big. . . I still have a year to go.
Records were made to be broken, he added. I owe 90 percent of it to my line. . . they punched some big holes for me.
On offense, Ballard takes to the field in a variety of forms: quarterback, tailback and sometimes flanker. He also plays outside linebacker on defense.
I thought it was a tough game, Ballard said of Saturdays contest. We thought Tri-Valley wasnt going to be that good, but they were. They started to come back in the second half, and we got kind of worried. . . anything could have happened.
At 7:37 in the first period, Roscoes Tim Haas scored on a 12- yard carry. The PAT failed, but the Blue Devils were up 6-0.
In the second quarter, Ballard, who rushed 23 times for 196 yards on the afternoon, picked up his first of four TDs on a 32-yard run to make it a 12-0 ballgame. Keith Buck connected with Dave Eggleton on the two-point conversion pass, giving Roscoe a 14-0 advantage
At 2:20, the Bears got onto the scoreboard on a 25 yard touchdown run by Nate McCarthy. The PAT came up short, but the Bears had closed the gap to 14-6.
As time started to run out in the first half, the Blue Devils fought back as Ballard scored on an 11-yard dash around the right side of the line with one minute left before halftime. The PAT attempt was blocked. Roscoe had a 20-6 lead at the half.
Tri-Valley (2-6, 1-2 Class D) brought the chilly hometown fans to their feet in the third quarter, as Alex Pearston scored from the one-yard- line, followed by McCarthy carrying it into paydirt on a two-point conversion to make it a 20-14 contest.
Later in the third quarter, Buck pulled off a 2-yard QB sneak at 10:28, and then connected to Eggleton for two points to put Roscoe back into a commanding 28-14 lead.
In the final quarter, Dave Felder took the kickoff return 90 yards to a much needed TD which electrified the hometeam crowd at 11:25. Pearston took it across the line to make it a 34-20 game.
At 3:36, Ballard scampered to his fourth TD of the afternoon, taking it across the line with a 26-yard run. The PAT came up short, but the Blue Devils were in the lead 40-22.
Following a nice pass reception by the Bears Kevin Bertholf, Felder scored on a one-yard run at 1:34. A two-point conversion by Pearston closed out the game at 40-30.
With less than a mintute remaining on the game clock, Haas dimmed any lingering Tri-Valley hopes of closing the gap when he intercepted a pass deep in Blue Devils territory. As the seconds ticked away, Roscoe ran out the clock, thus assuring them a berth in the Section IX, Class D Championship game at Dietz Stadium in Kingston on November 11.
Keith Buck completed two of four passes for the Blue Devils and Brian Ryder had 23 carries for 129 yards.
Tri-Valley stats: Kevin Hornbeck completed six of nine passes for 76 yards. Alex Pearston rushed 25 times for 167 yards, Nate McCarthy carried the ball 12 times for 69 yards and Dave Felder rushed seven times for 18 yards.
Im disappointed were not going to the playoffs, veteran T-V coach Max Stolzenberg said. Roscoe played well offensively. We just couldnt contain Ballard. The other guys hurt us some, but it was primarily Ballard.
Stolzenberg said he was real proud of the way his team battled back offensively in the second half in the wake of the disasterous on-side kickoff recovery, a play which forced the Bears to play catch-up the rest of the afternoon.
We moved the ball and did a good job of hustling up, he said. It was just one of those games.
Fred Ahart, coach of the Blue Devils, said both teams played outstanding offense.
We scored when we needed to, but Tri-Valley made a good comeback and kept us battling right to the end, he added.