CALLISBURG — The Ponder Lions and Callisburg Wildcats were each looking for their first win in District 5-2A play on Friday night, and it was the Wildcats who claimed a 27-13 triumph.
The game started out well for the Ponder (2-6, 0-4 district), when Christian Worthington picked off Callisburg quarterback Kordan Ward on the opening possession of the game. But the Ponder offense couldn’t gain any traction and had to punt.
It was the same story for Callisburg as its wishbone offense was ineffective for the team’s first few drives. Finally, the running attack of Jake Parker and quarterback Mason Langthorn pushed the Wildcats down the field and helped lead to a 6-yard rushing touchdown for Parker.
Ponder responded with its best runner, Trey Dunlap, who galloped 50 yards for a touchdown to tie the game late in the first quarter. Callisburg would then hold firm and virtually shut down the Lions offense for the rest of the first quarter and most of the second.
Overcoming costly penalties, the Wildcats returned to running their wishbone offense and had over 160 yards rushing in the first half. One of their runners, Eli Hollandsworth, scored on a 32-yard run in the middle of the second quarter, giving Callisburg a 14-7 lead.
In the second half, Ponder got the ball first and started to use Worthington as its feature back. Worthington, who had 91 yards on nine carries, led the Lions to the 5-yard line before Dunlap scored from there. After a failed two-point conversion, Ponder still trailed 14-13.
“We cut it to 14-13, we hold them on fourth-and-5 and get a facemask call,” Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke said. “That was the biggest play of the game, and when that happened, it kind of deflated us.”
From there, Langthorn and Parker helped run an efficient wishbone offense and drove down the field on the Lions. Ponder was gutted for 284 yards rushing. Hollandsworth finished off the second half with two of his three touchdowns.
“It was a good game; we just got outplayed overall,” Schuelke said. “We are still trying to get over the hump.”
Ponder had 221 yards rushing, but its inability to stop the Wildcats ultimately led to the loss.
Ponder returns home next week for a district game against Boyd.
Callisburg 27, Ponder 13
CL — Parker 6 run (Oppel kick)
PN — Dunlap 50 run (DeLeon kick)
CL — Hollandsworth 32 run (Oppel kick)
PN — Dunlap 5 run (2-point conversion failed)
CL — Hollandsworth 8 run (Oppel kick)
CL — Hollandsworth 4 run (Oppel kick)
Rushing — CL: Mason Langthorn 14-69, Jake Parker 21-105, Eli Hollandsworth 18-108, Ethan Thurman 1-3, Bryce Berryman 1-(-1), PN: Brady Anderson 7-24, Trey Dunlap 18-106, Christian Worthington 9-91.
Passing — CL: Jake Parker 0-1-0, Kordan Ward 0-1-1, Mason Langthorn, 0-1-1, PN: Brady Anderson 1-6-0 3.
Receiving — PN: Josh Pitman 1-3.