Ballard High earns first win in home opener, rolls past Garfield
By Christopher Duclos
Beaver Nation football supporters came out in full force to watch the Ballard Boys take on the Garfield Bulldogs in their first home game of the season. Fans showed up in the game’s theme “White Out” attire, setting the tone for an energetic and explosive home atmosphere.
After a rough 0-3 nonconference start to open the season, the boys from Ballard were hoping to nab their first win in conference play against Garfield.
The scoring began when Johnny Verduin completed a pass to Michael Asefa for a 17-yard touchdown play. Ballard was in complete control of the Bulldogs squad, gaining a total of 48 points in the first half.
Defense chalked up a solid evening as they rendered the Bulldog offense to 0 points in the first three quarters of regulation. Elliot Brockl recorded a big sack while also recovering a Bulldog fumble for a defensive score in the second quarter, putting the Beavers up 34-0. Nate Rauda led the defense in tackles with 8.5. Other notable defensive performances include Justin Simon (4.5 tackles), Jordan McColloch (4.5 tackles), Nathan Leapai (3.5 tackles) and Kyle Ward (3.5 tackles).
The defensive surge was followed by a punt return from Dominique Smith, who took the ball 55 yards for a touchdown. After another Ballard fumble recovery, the half was ended with another Verduin-to-Rauda touchdown pass.
Final score in regulation, 48-15, Beavers.
• A stalwart effort from Ballard receiver Nate Rauda hauled in 3 touchdown passes from Johnny Verduin.
• Running back Dominique Smith had a pair of rushing TD’s on offense to help increase the huge Ballard lead in the first half. Defensively Smith picked off a pass from the Bulldog quarterback.
• Tremendous offensive showcase with 252 total offensive yards -- 155 passing, 97 rushing. The defense recorded 3 turnovers -- 2 fumble recoveries and 1 interception -- and did not allow any points until the 4th quarter when Garfield rallied to score 15.