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DOWN AND DIRTY: No. 8 Lynx find a way to sneak by previously perfect Ballard

Rattenborg’s refusal to give in leads to game-winning TD; WCHS defense stingy again

WCHS spinback Chase Rattenborg (2) is hit at the 3-yard line, but plows over Ballard’s Colby Calvert (10) and gets into the end zone for the Lynx only touchdown late in the fourth quarter on Friday. Rattenborg also ran in the 2-point conversion, as No. 8-ranked (Class 3A) Webster City handed Ballard its first loss of the season, 8-7. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — Chase Rattenborg isn’t big — 150, maybe 155 pounds — but, boy, is he tough. And if heart and determination were measurable, there may not be a bigger kid on the block.

It was that heart and his refusal to fail that kept eighth-ranked Webster City unbeaten Friday night at Lynx Field.

Trailing Ballard 7-0 for nearly 39 of the 48 minutes, the senior spinback orchestrated a 12-play, 81-yard drive that gnawed 5:39 off the clock down the stretch and capped it with a 7-yard refuse-to-go-down touchdown run with 3:06 remaining. WCHS (3-0) passed on the chance to tie and instead went for the win with a two-point conversion. Everyone watching knew Rattenborg would get the ball and he got into the end zone anyway to put the Lynx ahead to stay.

“I can’t do it without my line, all credit goes to them,” Rattenborg said of the touchdown and two-point run. “They got down, blocked hard and made a good hole for me to score.”

That’s the answer of a leader. Yes, the line did its job, but Rattenborg willed himself forward. On the touchdown run, he took the trap straight up the gut, got hit from behind and at the knees at the 3 and still somehow churned his way across the goal line. And the window was even tighter on the two-point try.

WCHS tailback Trey Mathis (32) finds an open running lane on the perimeter as offensive lineman Beau Klaver (51) nudges Ballard’s Logan Harmeyer (8) out of the way on Friday. Mathis rushed for 122 yards. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“All offseason, coach (Bob Howard) sent us letters and they all said to be the predator, don’t be the prey,” Rattenborg, caked in mud after playing in a quagmire all night, said. “Coming down in the fourth quarter, we were the predator and not the prey.”

On the game-winning drive, Rattenborg rushed for 41 yards and completed a pair of passes for 24 more, including a key 5-yard completion on a jump pass to Tyler Olson on fourth-and-3 from the Ballard 24. Following a holding penalty, he went around the right end and bulled his way for a 17-yard gain to the 10.

“He’s tough,” Howard said of Rattenborg, who rushed for 88 yards and completed 4 of 6 passes for 44 yards in the Lynx fifth consecutive win over Ballard (2-1). “He had a tremendous game and he’s a leader. He wants to do well and he wants to perform and he wants to be on the stage.’

Rattenborg’s gutty late-game exploits — in just his third-ever start — were no surprise to his teammates.

“He’s always like that, always hyped,” Olson, the Lynx all-state free safety who put the game on ice with an interception with 1:41 remaining, said. “Ever since the seventh grade, he’s been one of the hardest runners we’ve had.”

WCHS defensive end Jamin Stuhr (87) slows down Ballard running back Sam Petersen (11) in the first half on Friday. Stuhr made a team-high 61⁄2 tackles in the Lynx 8-7 victory over the Bombers. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Another less-than-large WCHS player set the wheels in motion for the late theatrics.

Ballard was in prime position to take a two-score lead with under 9 minutes remaining when it moved down inside the WCHS 20. On third-and-6 at the 19, Bombers’ quarterback Connor Drew floated a pass in the direction of Kyler Watson in the corner of the end zone. But first-year starting cornerback Trey Lyons — out on an island with no safety help — played it perfectly and batted the ball down to force fourth down. Another incompletion later, the Lynx had the spark they needed.

“We needed that big time and that carried some momentum into the offensive drive,” Lyons said. “I just tried to tip it and I hoped he didn’t catch it after I tipped it.”

Howard singled out Lyons’ performance after the stadium cleared out.

“He is an absolute testament to strength and conditioning, weight training, speed training and waiting your turn,” Howard said of Lyons.

WCHS receiver Devon Stoakes (16) is knocked out of the air by Ballard’s Colby Calvert (10) in the first half Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Trey Mathis rushed for 122 yards for WCHS, which out-gained Ballard 254-128. The Lynx racked up 15 first downs to just five for the Bombers.

And yet, Ballard controlled the contest up until the moment Rattenborg went off. Drew connected with Mason Murphy on a 35-yard wheel route that moved the ball inside the WCHS 5 midway through the first quarter, and two plays later Sam Petersen burst through the left side to the end zone.

But Petersen, his team’s leading rusher, went down with an ankle injury later in the period and the Bombers’ offense was never the same.

“Him going down was big, but football is football,” Devon Stoakes, who made 51⁄2 tackles for WCHS, said. “Other than the one (pass) play, we really kept them on one side of the field. We didn’t allow (Drew) to run much off that option play and we made them pass. It’s their game, but if we can beat them at their game, we win.

“Persistence, that was probably the main key.”

WCHS cornerback Trey Lyons (9) breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Ballard’s Kyler Watson early in the fourth quarter on Friday at Lynx Field in Webster City. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

The Lynx defense held a third straight opponent under 100 yards rushing and Ballard moved the sticks just twice in the second half. Jamin Stuhr had 61⁄2 tackles, Jack Van Diest added six, and Skyler Scott finished with four, highlighted by a sack to put Ballard way behind the chains on their final drive of the game. One play later, Drew floated a pass that Olson snagged for his first pick of the season.

“We played really good defense against a tough scheme, and they’re good,” Howard said of Ballard. “They’re very talented, they’ve got a lot of skill kids, they’ve got a lot of speed, and their line is a lot faster than I thought it would be on defense.”

The defense kept WCHS in the game. The offense was stuck in the mud, quite literally, through three quarters and at times it was its own worst enemy. A slew of penalties — everything from procedure, to delay of game, to holding — limited drives, and Ballard bottled up Mathis.

“They had a guy in the ‘A’ gap right away that frustrated us,” Rattenborg said. “But we got to the fourth quarter and figured it out.”

Drew completed 5 of 13 passes for 55 yards, and Petersen was the Bombers’ leading rusher with 32 yards in limited time. Ballard accumulated 69 of its yards in the first quarter.

WCHS will go on the road for the first time this Friday to face another unbeaten team in Humboldt (3-0). Kickoff in Humboldt is set for 7 p.m.

SCORING SUMMARY

Ballard 7 0 0 0 — 7

Webster City 0 0 0 8 — 8

First Quarter

BAL — Sam Petersen 5 run (Obi Soash kick), 6:00.

Fourth Quarter

WC — Chase Rattenborg 7 run (Rattenborg run), 3:06.

TEAM STATISTICS

BAL WC

First downs  5 15

Rushing 3 12

Passing 2 3

Penalty 0 0

Rushes-yards 20-73 46-210

Passing yards 55 44

Comp-Att-INT 5-13-1 4-6-0

Return yards 60 9

Sacked-yards lost 1-10 1-16

Punts-Ave 5-32 5-32

Fumbles-lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-yards 4-35 7-48

Time of Possession 20:15 27:45

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Webster City Lynx

RUSHING

Player Att Yds TD

Trey Mathis 25 122 0

Chase Rattenborg 17 88 1

CJ Hisler 4 0 0

PASSING

Player Com Att Yds TD

C. Rattenborg 4 6 44 0

RECEIVING

Player Rec Yds TD

Tyler Olson 2 15 0

CJ Hisler 1 19 0

Trey Mathis 1 10 0

Tackles

Player So Ast Tot

Jamin Stuhr 6 1 61⁄2

Jack Van Diest 5 2 6

Devon Stoakes 4 3 51⁄2

Skyler Scott 4 0 4

Tyler Olson 3 2 4

Trey Mathis 3 1 31⁄2

Kyzer Stanley 2 2 3

Trey Lyons 0 3 11⁄2

CJ Hisler 1 1 11⁄2

Ty McKinney 1 0 1

Keegan Hisler 1 0 1

Ballard Bombers

RUSHING

Player Att Yds TD

Sam Petersen 7 32 1

Bryce Haessig 8 23 0

Mason Murphy 3 12 0

Logan Harmeyer 1 6 0

Wil Jennings 4 5 0

Connor Drew 7 -5 0

PASSING

Player Com Att Yds TD

Connor Drew 5 13 55 0

RECEIVING

Player Rec Yds TD

Mason Murphy 1 35 0

Bryce Haessig 1 22 0

Nolan Schonhorst 1 4 0

Sam Petersen 2 -6 0

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