Star of the Week: Ball named CAA Offensive Player of the Week

Patrick Mullaney

The No. 19-ranked Wildcats’ victory over No. 1 Richmond featured many standout performances, but running back Aaron Ball displayed superior athletic ability and had a memorable day. The 5-foot-9-inch red-shirt sophomore put up a career-high 123 yards on the ground and also picked up two touchdowns for the ‘Cats in a performance that led him to be named The Villanovan’s Star of the Week.

In the second quarter, he had the biggest gain of anybody on the day when his 63-yard dash resulted in a trip to the end zone. The score put the Wildcats up 14-3, and they never looked back.

After the game, Head Coach Andy Talley said, “Prior to [this] game, we had not had a running back make a run over 14 yards.”

On Saturday that trend changed.Thanks to the offensive line and his athletic prowess, Ball had a career day.

“It felt great getting the carries,” Ball said. “The O-line did a great job blocking up front. It made it a lot easier for me to get [to] the hole and run through it and to do what I do.”

For his efforts, Ball was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Week.

Ball is no stranger to big performances.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Ball was a three-year letter winner in football and track at Cabrillo High School. Like most other high school football players, he played two positions: tailback and defensive back. During his high school career, he was a two-time All-Moore League selection, as well as an All-CIF selection. In his junior year, he had 1,297 yards off 150 carries, and his team named him the offensive player of the year. In his senior year, he carried the ball 227 times for 1,300 yards. He even ran the 100-meter dash in a time of 10.67 seconds.

In 2006, Ball’s freshman year at ‘Nova, the football coaching staff red-shirted him. This often happens to give players time to build extra strength and endurance and to adapt to the team’s specific style of play. Saturday proved the success of that method.

In 2007, Ball was a backup behind senior stud Matt Dicken with classmate Angelo Babbaro. Despite the lack of action, he played in 10 games and had 47 carries for 247 yards – an impressive 5.3 yards per carry on the season. His previous career-high came in a game against William & Mary last year, Ball recorded 11 rushes for 68 yards, his highest total of that season.

“Coach told us before the game that we need production out of the group – fullbacks, tailbacks and tight end group,” Ball said after the game.

With that motivation and pressure fueling the fire, Ball played to the best of his ability and turned in a career performance.