BLACKSVILLE, W. Va. — Isaac Ball will be the first to tell you that he hadn’t planned on becoming some sort of rushing machine.
And for good reason, too, because up until last week, the junior from Cameron had never played running back before.
“Not even in middle school or anything like that,” Ball said after the Dragons took down Clay-Battelle on Friday night, 44-21. “I’ve always been a receiver.”
That just might be changing, and life changed for Ball two weeks ago when teammate Jourdan Presto hurt his ankle, which forced Cameron head coach Tim Brown to try Ball out at running back.
“I never really thought too much about it, ”Ball said. “I’m the guy who just goes in and does what my coaches tell me to do. When they asked me to play running back, I really didn’t get nervous or anything, I just went out and did it.”
A week ago, he rushed for 133 yards in his debut in a win against Tyler Consolidated.
Against the Cee-Bees (1-1), well, Ball went for a little more than that.
In what was truly an amazing statistical performance, Ball carried the ball 39 times for 313 yards and four touchdowns.
He added two catches out of the backfield for another 36 yards, giving him 349 yards of offense on 41 touches — just shy of nine yards per play.
“I had no idea it was that many carries,” he said. “I’m not really that tired.”
The Cee-Bees were certainly tired of seeing Ball get handed the rock.
“We knew he was a talented kid,” C-B head coach Ryan Wilson said. “He played receiver against us last year and he was tough out there. I think he scored a touchdown against us.
“He ran hard and he’s got a lot of speed and a lot of moves. His line really gave him some nice lanes to run through. They came off the ball hard and he did the rest.”
Cameron took an early 14-0 lead after the Dragons (4-3) recovered a Cee-Bees fumble on the opening kickoff and turned that into a 1-yard run from freshman quarterback Colson Wichterman and then Ball scored on an 8-yard run after forcing a C-B punt.
The Cee-Bees closed to within 14-7 in the second quarter, when Carson Shriver found Cooper Watson on a 14-yard scoring pass.
But, if there was any hope of a C-B comeback, Ball and the Dragons’ running game snuffed it out in the second half.
Ball carried 22 times in the second half for 187 yards and his 50-yard run with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter put the finishing touches on his evening.
As a team, Cameron rushed for 376 yards, with 235 coming in the second half.
“We just kept gaining confidence as the game kept going,” Ball said. “Our execution kept getting better.”
Clay-Battelle, on the other hand, hurt itself with three interceptions thrown in the second half, the fumble on the opening kickoff, as well as a bad snap that went for a loss of 20 yards.
“We had a lot of mistakes and fumbling on the opening kickoff really cost us any excitement that we had built up,” Wilson said. “It looked out there every bit like a team playing its seventh game of the season against a team playing its second. We were a step slow out there.”
C-B was forced to sit out the first six weeks of the season due to coronavirus restrictions within Monongalia County, as well as having an assistant coach test positive for COVID-19.
Still, the Cee-Bees moved the ball. Shriver threw for 63 yards and two scores and also added 110 yards rushing and scored on a 57-yard run in the third quarter.
“It seemed like whenever we had built up anything positive, we would have something bad happen,” Wilson said. “Whether it being a penalty or bad snaps or a turnover. We just couldn’t keep going in the right direction.”
Cameron 14 8 15 7 –44
Clay-Battelle 0 13 8 0 –21
Cam—Colson Wichterman1 run (pass failed)
Cam—Isaac Ball 8 run (Cole O’Neil run)
C-B—Cooper Watson 14 pass from Carson Shriver (Gavin Reynolds kick)
Cam—Ball 10 run (O’Neil run)
C-B—Watson 12 pass from Shriver (run failed)
Cam—O’Neil 2 run (O’Neil run)
Cam—Ball 1 run (Logan Burkett kick)
C-B—Shriver 57 run (Watson pass from Shriver)
Cam—Ball 50 run (Burkett kick)
RUSHING: Cameron—Ball 39-313 4 TD, O’Neil 7-28 TD, Jason Ross 3-31, Wichterman 3-3 TD, Burkett 1-1, Delbert Van Tassell 1-0. Clay-Battelle—Shriver 19-110 TD, Daniel Gorbey 4-6, Watson 3-5, Team 1-(-20).
PASSING: Cameron—Wichterman 5-11-1 71. Clay-Battelle—Shriver 5-7-1 63 2 TD, Watson 0-3-3 0.
RECEIVING: Cameron—Ball 2-36, O’Neil 2-19, Burkett 1-16. Clay-Battelle—Watson 5-63 2 TD.