All photos by Heather Nelson
Ballard High School lost to O'Dea last Friday, 6-28, but were able to get some big plays in. (Click on the picture above to see a full slideshow)

SLIDESHOW: Another game lost, but not all hope

No doubt about it, the Ballard High School football team is having a rough start to the season. After a close 6-7 loss to Bishop Blanchet in their first game, they lost 6-28 to O’Dea High School Friday, Sept. 7. But don’t worry, Beaver fans, not all hope is lost.

Certainly, Ballard had a lot to take on in O’Dea, the No. 2 ranked team which has always been a force to be reckoned with. Even the mascots seem like a cruel matchup dreamt up by what can only be a terrible, terrible person -- Beavers (even if they are vicious) versus the “Fighting Irish.”

If nothing, O’Dea won through consistency. With two touchdowns in the first two quarters, two touchdowns in the third quarter and an offense that routinely broke through the Beaver defense, the Fighting Irish were able to make their way across the field gradually and handily. This was nowhere more evident than in the third quarter, when play after play O’Dea was able to rush through Beaver ranks.

In terms of big plays, Ballard had some memorable ones from Nate Rauda and Dominique Smith -- appropriately wearing the No. 1 and No. 2 shirts respectively -- and Johnny Verduin, punctuating what could have been a completely depressing night with exhilarating catches and runs.

Smith rushed 69 yards on 7 carries, gained 30 yards receiving, and blasted down the field 109 yards on punt and kick returns. There were moments when Smith seemed like an express bullet train not about to make any stops; at times when he seemed down for the count, lost in a crowd of Fighting Irish, he was actually still going.

Rauda, for his part, was able to gain 107 yards receiving, procuring the only touchdown for Ballard in the fourth quarter with a 25-yard pass from Verduin. Every catch Rauda made had the Ballard crowd on their feet roaring.

Verduin passed 9 of 22, for 155 yards and of course the touchdown.

Overall, Ballard had 97 yards rushing and 155 yards passing for a total of 252 yards of offense.

The big plays were overshadowed, though, by a team which still has some kinks to work out. Basic mistakes such as false starts and confusion over how many people were on the field were common, and at times the overall team performance and cohesion seemed a tad scatter-brained. Meanwhile, O’Dea, though not always quite as flashy, worked as a well-oiled machine.

Decisions from the refs were also at times questionable. Coach Joey Thomas objected to one of O’Dea’s touchdowns, yelling that holding on one of his players happened twice. In another incident, also at a crucial touchdown moment for O’Dea, refs seemed to ignore a call for timeout.

In any case, there’s still time for the Beavers to make up lost ground. They’ll be facing off against the Redmond Mustangs in Redmond next Friday at 7 p.m.

Make sure to click on the picture above to see a full slideshow.

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