Archive for Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Bulldogs dominate Eudora

October 15, 2003

By Jeff Myrick

Baldwin City Signal Editor

Although the score may not indicate it, the Baldwin High School Bulldogs dominated the Eudora Cardinals Friday night at Liston Stadium on their way to a 15-7 win to move to 5-1, a record that hasn't been seen fo r 30 years.

BHS racked up 324 yards in total offense, while holding the high-powered Cardinals to just 117, which included stuffing the Frontier League's top rushing offense to the tune of only 33 yards on the ground.

"No, we have not dominated a good t eam like we did them," said BHS coach Mike Berg. "We had 324 yards and they had 117. I'd say that's pretty darned good.

"I've been looking at the record books and the last time we were 5-1 was 1982 and that team ended up 7-2," said Berg. "That was the team the year after they had won the state championship. They had Topeka Hayden and Santa Fe Trail in their district, too."

Yes, Berg has already switched gears completely to the district season that starts Friday at Santa Fe Trail and will determine what teams advance to the state playoffs. But, he did take a little time to enjoy the victory over Eudora.

"I thought our team came out ready to play," he said. "We were up for it. We had heard how good Eudora was. Our team was up for the challenge.

"They crossed our 50-yard line one time and that was on a punt return where we missed a coverage assignment," said Berg. "Other than that, our defense played near perfection. To hold the league's leading rushing offense to 33 yards was pretty amazing."

It was a 36-yard punt return by Eudora's Joey Donahue that gave the Cardinals their only trip into Bulldog territory for the night. That put the ball at the 35-yards line and Eudora used six plays to score its only touchdown. That came on a fourth-and-two. The extra point gave Eudora its only lead of the night at 7-0 with 5:12 to go in the first quarter.

From there, it was all BHS. On their next possession, the Bulldogs drove 78 yards in 10 plays. Standout senior tailback Micah Mason covered most of those yards, 48 in all, including the last yard for the touchdown. But sophomore quarterback Jeremy Wright, in his first-ever varsity start, chipped in with a 12-yard pass to senior Andrew Hannon and a nine-yard run. Junior kicker Emery Baughan added the extra point t o tie it at 7-7 with 27 seconds left.

BHS took the lead for good midway through the second quarter with a 57-yard, eight-play drive. Again there was a steady dose of Mason and two passes from Wright that plowed that way. Wright covered the final three ya rds for the touchdown and a 13-7 lead that held through half time and basically for the whole game. The Bulldogs added a safety early in the third quarter that wrapped up the scoring.

There should have been more points, too. BHS stubbed its toes with a p air of turnovers and costly penalties. A prime example of that was a 60-plus-yard punt return for a touchdown by Hannon that got called back for an illegal block. Another example came on the drive following the punt return where a touchdown pass from Wrig ht to senior Jason Kesinger that was also called back. There were others, as well, or the score would have been much higher.

"Mental mistakes," said Berg. "You go back and look at the film and there were mental mistakes that we've got to fix. But, the ki ds were playing with so much intensity that we were able to over come them.

"We won the field position battle," he said. "We've been in those games where you start on the 10-yard line all the time. It's tough to drive the field when that happens, especially against our defense. I really feel like our defense has improved every week. I'm excited about that because it makes it easier to make decisions on offense knowing that our defense is going to hold them."

In fact, of Eudora's 117 total yards, around 50 of them came on the Cardinals' last drive as they were desperately trying to come up with a touchdown and a tying two-point conversion. Eudora came up with its own mental mistakes there to help out. The Cards threw for 52 yards on that drive, but it st alled thanks in part to their quarterback taking a knee on one play instead of spiking the football and then spiking it on a fourth down which gave BHS the ball with just seconds remaining.

BHS had balance with its offense. Mason ended the night with mos t of the 194 rushing yards, gaining 145 on 22 carries. Wright completed seven of 18 passes for 130 yards and would have had more if not for a couple of dropped passes and pass routes not completed. Junior wide receiver Austin Inzer chipped in with 65 yards on two catches.

"I thought we had some kids step up and play well," said Berg. "I was very happy with Austin Inzer's two catches in critical situations. We got our quarterback on the outside which loosened up our inside game. Our offense is doing well, we just need to finish."

Eudora fell to 4-2 with the loss. Both teams head off in different directions for district play, but could meet up again in the playoffs. The Bulldogs play at SFT Friday at 7 p.m. The Chargers are 1-5 on the year and are running the same odd, stacked in close offense that Spring Hill used against BHS two weeks ago. On defense, the Chargers use a 5-3.

"It's district time. It's almost like the start of a new season," he said. "These are the games that count. We're going to take it one game at a time and focus on getting better.

"You can't look past anyone at this time of the year," said Berg. "Everyone is going to pick up the intensity and enthusiasm to try and reach the playoffs."?

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