Bulldogs bash Osawatomie
If wild was what Baldwin High Bulldog fans wanted for homecoming, they sure got it Friday night in a scorefest 52-34 victory over the Osawatomie Trojans.
And, that score is deceiving in more ways than one. Osawatomie actually had the early lead by recovering a short, bloop opening kickoff and turning it into a touchdown. That 8-0 lead was short-lived, however, because when the Trojans tried the same short kick after their score, senior Tom Wilson snagged it on the front line of the return team and galloped 50 yards for the Bulldog's first touchdown at knot the score at 8-8.
But, wait a minute, the wildness isn't over yet. Just nine seconds later, Baldwin High took the lead for good when Osawatomie fumbled the ensuing kickoff and senior Adam Turk scooped it up and ran it in from 21 yards for another touchdown. This time senior Hans Broers booted the extra point at BHS was up 15-8 with 8:53 left in the opening quarter and the offense had never seen the field.
"That was really weird," said coach Mike Berg of the game's opening. "It was the end of the first quarter before we took our first snap. It shows how important special teams are.
"They didn't want to kick it deep to us," Berg said of Osawatomie's short kicks. Last year the Bulldogs returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in a 34-14 win. "Tom did a good job with the second one and returned it for the touchdown. On the fumble, it was a great hit by Micah Mason and Adam Turk ran it in."
The wild ride wasn't over yet. Osawatomie wasn't giving up and immediately took the ball and drove it down BHS's throat for a 78-yard drive to pull within one at 15-14, still in the first quarter. Finally, BHS got the ball on offense and put on a drive of its own. But, just into the second quarter, an interception stalled that drive.
Between the defensive lapses and the turnover, the Trojans appeared to have BHS's number, despite being severe underdogs.
"We really didn't come out ready to play," said Berg. "We warmed up well, but we just didn't come out with emotion to play at the first of the game."
However, from there the Bulldogs got into the game big time.
"It was a wake up call," he said of the unexpected 15-14 score at the first-quarter break. "After that, I was happy with our performance. But, against the good teams, you've got to be ready from the start."
First, the defense stepped up and stuffed the Trojans and forced the game's first punt. Then it was off to the Micah Mason races. The 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore capped a six-play, 61-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run to put BHS up 21-14 with 8:34 left in the half. But, he was just getting started.
After two more Osawatomie punts, Mason broke loose on a 42-yard touchdown scamper that topped off a four-play, 66-yard drive. He had 61 of those yards by himself. That left the Bulldogs up 28-14 at halftime and his brother and backfield partner Caleb Mason was crowned king during the homecoming ceremonies.
It really heated up in the third quarter as the Bulldogs hung 24 points on the Trojans to turn the game into a rout. M. Mason picked up where he left off in the second half, scoring on a 1-yard plunge to put BHS up 34-14.
The BHS defense then came up with a fumble, with sophomore linebacker Kyle Flory pouncing on it at the 21-yard line. On the next play, M. Mason took a pass from senior quarterback Tyler Inzer and turned it into a 21-yard touchdown reception for a 40-14 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Osawatomie fumbled again and junior Justin Goff recovered. Berg then put the second team. Didn't matter. Four plays later Goff scored on a four-yard run for a 46-14 lead.
It was almost instant replay for the next BHS score. Again Osawatomie fumbled the kickoff, and this time sophomore Brad Ikenberry recovered. Seven plays later Goff ran five yards for another Bulldog touchdown, the last of the night. That put BHS up 52-14 with 1:58 left in the third quarter.
Osawatomie added 20 fourth-quarter points using its varsity against BHS's second team. That's where the deceiving final score comes in again. But, Berg was pleased with the amount of time he was able to play his backups.
"We kind of prove a couple of things," he said. "We're playing the right kids at the start of the game and I had a lot of people happy with all the kids that got to play."
The victory also moved Baldwin High's record to 3-1 on the season. The Bulldogs are in a five-way tie for second, with Paola the lone undefeated team left in the Frontier League.
"At this point in the season, we're very happy with where we're at," said Berg. "We're tied for second and we hold our own destiny. The homecoming win was great for the kids and the school."
The win also showed the team that by cutting out mistakes and taking advantage of those by the opposing team, good things can happen. A week ago, BHS coughed up five turnovers against Gardner and were handed their first loss. In Friday's win, the Bulldogs took advantage of four Osawatomie fumbles to pave the way to the victory.
"You've got to hang on to the football," he said. "We learned that against Gardner and Osawatomie learned that against us."
BHS also showed its first sign of a balanced attack by throwing for 99 yards against the Trojans. That almost doubled the Bulldog's passing yards for the year.
"We're trying to be more balanced," said Berg. "We know we're going to have to be in the future. We're working on it. We're looking to be a little more balanced because people have been putting a lot of people in the box."
Opponents have been trying to shut down BHS's running game and with good reason. M. Mason ran for 161 yards on 14 carries, his third straight game over the 100-yard mark. He now has 572 yards rushing for the season. He also had two catches for 49 yards to add receiving to his repertoire. Inzer added another 61 yards on the ground to go along with his 3-for-5 passing for 91 yards.
BHS also used another formation on offense, which gives opponents yet another look. There's more to come.
"We've got some play action we haven't used," he said. "We've got some trickery out there."
Next up for the Bulldogs is a road game to Garnett to face Anderson County, which is 0-4 on the season. Wellsville beat Anderson County 42-14 Friday, but it was closer than that.
"It was 8-7 after the first quarter and it was 19-14 at halftime," said Berg. "They look pretty good. They're running the I formation and running a lot of traps and some option. They're using a 5-3 on defense and putting a bunch of guys in the box. They could be dangerous."
Game time Friday at Garnett is 7 p.m.