Ballard spoils GRC’s homecoming game with 44-3 victory

Published 10:30 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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While this past weekend featured plenty of reasons for festivities, it was hoped that the George Rogers Clark High School football team could win against the highly esteemed Ballard Bruins.

Unfortunately, the results were not to be.

The Bruins (3-2) scored on their opening possession and never trailed, pulling away late in the first half as the Cards (3-2) fell 44-3 at Cardinal Stadium.

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“Congratulations to Ballard,” said GRC head coach Joe Chirico. “We [have] a lot of room for improvement. We’ve got to get better as a staff and as a team and we’re [going to] get better.”

After receiving the opening kickoff, the Cards could not pick up an initial first down – punting away to Ballard.

The Bruins, who narrowly missed playing in last year’s Class 6A state-championship game following a close loss to runner-up Male, then took an early 7-0 lead following a four-yard touchdown run by senior Journey Wyche with 8:13 remaining in the first quarter.

While the Cards’ offense showed signs of life on the next drive, including a fourth-down conversion near midfield, the Bruins would eventually get the ball back.

The Bruins’ offense got into the Cards’ red zone by marching downfield, aided by their own fourth-down conversion.

However, the defense tightened, forcing a 23-yard field goal from freshman Colton Abbott for a 10-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter.

Late in the first half, with the same score, the Cards once more had the Bruins in the red zone.

Yet this time, on third down, Ballard executed a half-back pass successfully as Whyte received the pitch on what appeared to be a sweep and connected with junior wide receiver Maurice Stephens in the corner of the endzone on a 13-yard touchdown pass for a 17-0 advantage with 1:13 remaining before halftime.

The Cards were able to get into field goal range on the ensuing drive but, with a receiver tackled in bounds and the clock still running, were unable to stop it before time expired.

“I thought GRC played hard. I thought our guys came prepared to play,” said Ballard head coach Adrian Morton. “We thought [quarterback Sam Clements] was a pretty dog gone good football player, so [we] just try to contain those guys. We’ve got pretty good [offensive] weapons, and for us just to try to spread the ball out [and] get teams running east to west…it opens up the middle lanes for us.”

With Ballard receiving the ball to start the second half, the Cards’ defense could not make a stop on a drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown off a screen pass from sophomore QB Larry Irvin to White.

While the Cards got on the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Clay Turley, the Bruins would score three more times – their last coming with less than a minute remaining – to achieve victory.

Though the Cards did not meet their goal of the night, it could still be considered a memorable evening for Chirico.

Senior Ty Miller and Isabella Chirico were named Homecoming King and Queen at halftime.

Miller plays linebacker for the Cards, while the latter, as the name suggests, is his daughter.

“I’m proud of my daughter, and I’m excited for her and Ty,” Chirico said.

The Cards will look to rebound next Friday, Sept. 15, as they take on rival Montgomery County (2-3) in Mt. Sterling. Gametime is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.