Buffaloes trample Bulldogs
Just forget about it. That's about the only way Baldwin High School football fans can come away sane from Friday's opening 52-7 drubbing by Prairie View.
Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong in the debacle just try two blocked punts, three interceptions, two lost fumbles, penalties, missed tackles and not enough blocking. No one wants to forget about it more than head coach Mike Berg.
"We made a lot of mistakes," said Berg. "It was fundamentals. We didn't block and we didn't tackle. We'd move the ball and get a penalty or fumble. We had some kids who'd never played."
Couple that with a Prairie View Buffalo team that was big and experienced and the results weren't pretty.
"I knew they were good, but I didn't know they were that good," said Berg. "We couldn't tackle them."
It happened early and often, too. Prairie View found itself with a third and 10 on its first series. A dump pass into the flat from Israel Stanage to Luke Page turned into a 74-yard touchdown thanks to a series of breakdowns by BHS's Bulldogs.
It didn't get better from there. On the ensuing kickoff, Baldwin High fumbled. The Buffaloes recovered and three plays later were standing in the end zone with another touchdown. An ugly tone had been set.
"We moved the ball during the game, but we were so down on ourselves because we were down 12 points and our offense hadn't touched the ball," he said.
Ah, the vaunted Bulldog offense. It was in a hole and it showed. On its first play senior quarterback Heath Knight was sacked attempting to pass. On the second play, junior tailback Caleb Mason broke free for a 16-yard gain and a first down. Two more Mason runs brought another first down. Then Knight connected with all-state receiver Ben Cosman for a seven-yard gain. All appeared well, but, that was the end. It would be Cosman's only catch of the night.
After a delay of game penalty, Knight was sacked again. That was followed by an incompletion and then an interception. The Bulldogs had only been 23 yards from scoring, but came up empty handed. Again, the tone was set.
Baldwin High's defense came to the rescue ... briefly. The Dawgs stopped Prairie View and forced a punt. The offense then showed a brief glimpse of good. Another Mason run picked up 16 yards. A pass, a run and a Buffalo penalty picked up another. Then a blocking below the waist penalty killed the want-to-be drive. Enter the punter and the first of two blocked punts. It was the death knell.
Prairie View took over at the five-yard line. One play later, Stanage scooted into the end zone. This time the extra point was successful and the Buffaloes were up 19-0 just into the second quarter. The teams then traded interceptions with BHS senior Nathan Floersch picking off a Stanage pass and making a good return. However, a penalty moved it back and BHS punted. It took just a single play, a 36-yard touchdown run by Page to put Prairie View up 26-0.
Then came BHS's lone offensive drive of the night. The Bulldogs used runs by Mason, senior fullback Tyler Craig and Knight to move 64 yards in eight plays. Craig crashed into the end zone from 12 yards out to put the only touchdown of the night for the Dawgs. Junior Yancy Richards booted the extra point and BHS trailed 26-7 with 2:53 left in the half. That's as close as they got.
To open the second half, BHS looked like it may have found the formula to reverse the slide. The Bulldogs drove 57 yards in nine plays, mixing the run with a beautiful catch by junior receiver Tyler Inzer and another pass to Floersch. Then the second lost fumble ended any hopes BHS had.
Berg just wants to move on.
"It was a tough night. They took advantage of every mistake we made and we made a lot of them," he said. "We had some inexperienced players and that made for costly mistakes. We just have to hold onto the ball and tackle.
"But, we'll be okay," said Berg. "I've got my head up. We can fix it Friday."
Baldwin will take to the road for the short trip to arch-rival Wellsville Friday. The Eagles suffered a similar defeat, falling to Louisburg 48-6 in their opening game of the season.
Berg isn't thinking about preparing for Wellsville. He's more concerned with his squad.
"We're not going to concentrate on Wellsville, we're going to concentrate on us," he said. "We've got to correct a lot of things and we will do it."
One of the major concerns is the offensive line. Berg was able to make adjustments for the second half and said after viewing the film that his suspicions were correct.
"They were blocking the wrong guys," he said. "They were blocking the linebacker and leaving the defensive end alone. They were rushing six people at the beginning and we weren't picking up the right blocks. It's just inexperience on the line. I knew that would happen and we'll get it fixed."