Passing and running, Ham has answers for Stallions

July 09, 1995|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Tracy Ham didn't want to call it a struggle.

Three points in the first quarter just meant it was time to tinker. Adjustments would win last night's game against San Antonio.

Ham battled back from a rough beginning to lead the Baltimore Stallions to a 50-24 victory at Memorial Stadium, accumulating 290 all-purpose yards, including 233 and two touchdowns -- to Robert Clark and Chris Armstrong -- through the air.

Ham completed 17 of 25 passes, rushed seven times for 57 yards and a score, and threw a block that sprung Shannon Culver for a 29-yard gain in the second quarter. On a night when the Stallions couldn't do much early on, Ham eventually did everything.

"Anytime you're playing against a team and not getting what you want, it's a feel-out process," he said.

Ham's legs were as important as his right arm, whether he was racing downfield and dodging would-be tacklers or buying time until someone got open, as he did on an 18-yard scoring pass to Clark in the second quarter. Clark got wide-open in the back of the end zone as Ham scrambled from one sideline to the next.

"When you're in a league with a field this size, my ability to move around becomes an important part of our offense," he said. "When you move around like that, people get lost. And I've found there's always people in the back of the end zone."

And, as usual, he wasn't afraid to take a hit. "It's a physical game and, physically, I'm prepared for it," he said. "I don't like it, but that's part of the game. I try to stand in there. When it's my turn, it's my turn, and I have to do anything I can to get the ball in the end zone."

Said coach Don Matthews: "Tracy is a great competitor. He's going to contribute however he can."

Distribution was a big part of the win. Seven receivers caught passes.

"It's important that I do move the ball around," Ham said. "We don't want to allow anybody to just clamp down on Chris [Armstrong]. We have guys who have shown they can make big plays. I just try to get everybody the ball and allow them to work and not just put everything on one guy's shoulders."

On his touchdown, which put Baltimore ahead 13-10, Clark said: "We had a lot of guys bunched up and I just kind of got lost in the crowd. Everybody went right and I went left. I was just thinking, 'Don't drop it, don't drop it.' You've just got to concentrate.

"It took us a little time to get calmed down tonight," he added. "We just weren't doing things right."

That is, until Ham could do no wrong.

"Tracy's a good quarterback. He's a leader on the field," Clark said. "When he goes out there, he tries to read the defense, keep us calm and make sure everybody's doing what they're supposed to do.

"He just did what he normally does. Sometimes it doesn't look good, but it's not always his fault."

Clark said when the team sees Ham throw a block downfield, "it kind of makes you want to bring your level up. Seeing him do that kind of thing makes you want to go out and do your job that much better."

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