Baldwin High falls flat against Eudora
For the second year in a row, class was in session when Baldwin High School and Eudora clashed in a Frontier League showdown. For the second year in a row, BHS's Bulldogs got schooled, this time by a 35-14 count Friday at home.
But, Baldwin High coach Mike Berg hopes this year the lessons are learned.
"We just have to improve," said Berg. "We have to take that game and learn from it. This week starts a new season. Everyone is 0-0 and we're playing to move on."
This week ushers in district play, the last three games of the season which determine which teams advance to the state playoffs. For BHS, that's home games against Paola and Louisburg and the finale at Spring Hill.
What Berg hopes is his squad learned from Eudora, especially as far as line play, what it takes to win and move on. The Cardinals controlled the line of scrimmage and BHS's 4-4 defense all night long.
"Yes, they really did," he said. "We made a lot of mistakes, technique mistakes, like shedding blockers and staying low. But they pretty much dominated the line of scrimmage. That's as good of a high school offensive line as I've ever seen. You can't expect to do that (play poor technique against it) and survive."
How bad was it? Eudora tailback Andrew Pyle, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior, rushed for 359 yards on 46 carries all by himself behind a line that often had BHS pushed back five to seven yards before Pyle would even have a hand laid on him. Pure and simple, the Cardinals just kicked BHS's tail.
"Yes, they really did," said Berg. "I think it's a wake-up call for our kids. We're going to have to come out and have a good week of practice to get ready for Paola. Our kids are distraught and pretty beat up. We need to put that one behind us and move on."
But, that's moving on with the lessons learned.
"Our kids got tired," he said. "They kept throwing fresh linemen at us. They just physically wore us out. That's what good teams do control the ball. That kept our offense off the field and our defense on the field too much."
The BHS offense had a few tricks and had some good plays. One was a pitch to tailback Micah Mason, who then threw a pass back to quarterback Tyler Inzer. It went for 32 yards, but was one block short of a touchdown.
"We knew they pursue so hard, so we wanted to try that play," said Berg. "We wanted to run it early. We executed except for one block. I thought we made some big plays on offense, but we had the one big turnover on the pitch. We can't put the ball on the ground."
Inzer was most of the offense, running for 91 yards on 11 carries. He also had a 46-yard touchdown run. Mason was held to a season-low 51 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game with a hyper-extended knee. Mason did have an 82-yard punt return touchdown which put BHS up 7-0 in the first quarter.
BHS will put its 4-2 season record against Paola's 6-0 mark Friday at 7 p.m. in Liston Stadium to open district play. There are plenty of reasons why Paola is unbeaten.
"They are pretty well balanced on offense, with a little more run than pass," he said. "They use the Air Force Flex Bone with a lot of motion and shifting. They run the option, play-action pass, trips, power, sweeps, speed option they do a lot of things with the multiple sets the motion gives them with the Flex Bone.
"They have a lot of everything a fullback that averages 100 yards a game and a good quarterback who has a nice throwing motion," said Berg. "We're happy to get them at Liston."