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
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.
Ballard 7 0 0 0 — 7
Webster City 0 0 0 8 — 8
BAL — Sam Petersen 5 run (Obi Soash kick), 6:00.
WC — Chase Rattenborg 7 run (Rattenborg run), 3:06.
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
Webster City Lynx
Player Att Yds TD
Trey Mathis 25 122 0
Chase Rattenborg 17 88 1
CJ Hisler 4 0 0
Player Com Att Yds TD
C. Rattenborg 4 6 44 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Tyler Olson 2 15 0
CJ Hisler 1 19 0
Trey Mathis 1 10 0
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
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
Player Com Att Yds TD
Connor Drew 5 13 55 0
Player Rec Yds TD
Mason Murphy 1 35 0
Bryce Haessig 1 22 0
Nolan Schonhorst 1 4 0
Sam Petersen 2 -6 0