Ralston's 26-7 win Thursday night over Blair included some could-haves.
Blair could have been in a 7-7 tie at halftime, but gave away nine points on a fumble and a pick-six, and it had losses on back-to-back plays inside the Ralston 20 late in the half.
Class B No. 8 Ralston (3-0) could have been better in the red zone, too, and it could have gotten a shutout had Blair linebacker Will Schany not run 65 yards with a fumble that he stripped from the ballcarrier to set up a 3-yard scoring possession.
Ralston coach Tyler Zahn still was pleased with the Rams' defensive effort. They kept the Bears winless through three games while holding them to 118 yards rushing and 154 yards overall.
“Those sound better than the numbers I've been hearing,'' said Zahn, whose team was allowing 314 yards a game. “We did some good things. We have some young defensive backs who are maturing.”
Isaac Wallace, Ralston's 6-foot-2, 205-pound senior running back, churned out 178 yards rushing. His first carry was a 39-yard touchdown run.
He scored the Rams' other offensive touchdown on a 38-yard screen pass play from quarterback Josh Krzemien for a 23-0 lead in the third quarter.
Krzemien scored in the second quarter on a 65-yard interception return.
Junior kicker Dillon LaPour was 2 of 2 on field goals, making a pair of 23-yarders.
Blair lost five turnovers, dropping the Bears to minus-9 in turnover margin on the season, coach Darren Harsin said.
“We're moving the ball but we just don't get it in the end zone,'' he said.
John Fletcher recovered two of Blair's three lost fumbles. Joey Weber also had an interception for Ralston.
Blair's offense had its longest sustained drive in the second quarter after Ralston went ahead 16-0. With senior lineman Dane Appel lined up in the backfield for extra blocking, the Bears primarily rode Schany's power running 53 yards to the Rams 16. On third-and-1, Ralston sophomore Andrew Lucero tackled Schany for a 2-yard loss. On fourth down, miscommunication in the backfield left quarterback Ian Mertlik with the ball and Chris Bourke tackled him for an 8-yard loss.
Mertlik's 1-yard plunge broke up the Rams' shutout with 2:55 left.
Blair (0-3) ............................ 0 0 0 7—7
At Ralston (3-0) ............................ 7 9 7 3—26
R: Isaac Wallace 39 run (Dillon LaPour kick)
R: FG LaPour 23
R: Josh Krzemien 65 interception return (kick failed)
R: Wallace 38 pass from Krzemien (LaPour kick)
R: FG LaPour 23
B: Ian Mertlik 1 run (Sean Petersen kick)
A: 1,300 (est.)
RUSHING: B, Will Schany 14-82, Petersen 16-27, Brad Lenz 1-3, Vance Janssen 1-7, team 1-minus 2. R, Wallace 26-178, Krzemien 7-22, John Fletcher 4-10, Jacob Tamayo 5-8, Joey Weber 1-minus 10, team 3-minus 20.
PASSING: B, Petersen 4-10-2 36. R, Krzemien 6-11-0 77.
RECEIVING: B, Brodie Wakefield 1-15, Janssen 3-21. R, Wallace 2-50, Fletcher 1-10, Weber 1-6, Tamayo 1-6, Robert Cisar 1-4.