October 29, 2011

Ball powers De Sales to top seed

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Having already clinched a playoff berth a week ago, Warren Ball and his De Sales team were hoping to secure a home game in the first round. They did just that on Friday night, knocking off Cleveland Benedictine 31-14. Running against eight and nine men in the box, Ball had to grind it out all evening but finished the game with 72 yards on 23 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

"It's great to see how time has gone by and it was great to get a win tonight," said Ball. "The seniors did a good job of battling through some adversity at the beginning and so many guys made big plays."

Locked into a tie game late in the second quarter, De Sales exploded for three touchdowns in the final four minutes of the half. The first came on a punt return by senior Jalen Noble, the second on an interception return for a touchdown by Marq Pannell, and the third on a one-yard run by Ball. The flurry of touchdowns before the half was clearly the difference in the game.

"It was huge," he said. "It was a 7-7 game, back and forth, and that just opened the door. It gave us some confidence and momentum and it was definitely huge."

The second half belonged to Ball, who carried the rock just a few times in the first half before shouldering the load in the second half and milking the clock.

"Initially they were doing some things up front and we had to make some adjustments at halftime," he said. "Once we got the lead, we definitely had some players make some plays and we were just able to pound it and try to maintain."

The win means that Ball will get to play one more home game in his outstanding career as De Sales has clinched the top overall seed in Ohio's Division III Region 10. The top seed in the region is just another feather in Ball's cap as he continues to accomplish the goals he set for himself for his senior season.

"I'm very thankful," Ball said of his senior season. "It's been a great season so far. Things started off a little shaky but we were able to work on some things and now it's time to work hard and not slack off and make a run at this thing."

Ball will be in attendance on Saturday night as Ohio State hosts Wisconsin in a 'make or break' game for the Buckeyes and their Rose Bowl chances. Ball is excited to come out and support his future teammates.

"I'm just most excited about being in that atmosphere," he said. "Ohio State/Wisconsin is going to be a huge game and I'm just hoping to see the Buckeyes get a win."

Ball will be joined by many members of Ohio State's 2012 class and says the group has a strong sense of unity.

"I think there's a very strong bond that we have," Ball explained. "I went to see Josh Perry's game during our bye week that we had a few weeks ago and I keep in contact with Frank (Epitropoulos) and Najee (Murray) so we're a very close bunch."

Ball and De Sales are slated to host River Valley (7-3) next weekend in the first round of the Ohio high school football playoffs.


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