Bulldogs rout Santa Fe Trail
By Jeff Myrick
Baldwin City Signal Editor
In a word, it was a shellacking. That's what the Baldwin High School Bulldogs did to the Santa Fe Trail Chargers Friday night in the first round of district play. Try 62-13. That's how ugly it was.
In fact, the game was over in the first quarter when BHS took advantage of four Charger turnovers to stack up four touchdowns for a 28-0 lead. In all, SFT had seven turnovers -- six fumbles and an interception -- as BHS rolled up its biggest point-margin win in years.
"I thought we capitalized on their mistakes," said coach Mike Berg. "When you put the ball on the ground six times, it's going to come back to haunt you.
"It was a good confidence booster for us," said Berg. "We knew going in that Santa Fe Trail was a young team, but they played competitively. The turnovers made the difference. We were expecting a hard-fought match like we had last year and it didn't turn out that way."
BHS junior Ricky Baker got the turnover-onslaught going with an interception. Four runs later by senior Micah Mason brought the first touchdown. Senior linebacker Kyle Flory scored a minute later when he rumbled untouched with a fumble recovery for a 34-yard touchdown.
Two more SFT fumbles turned into two more BHS touchdowns, both by Mason. On the first, he ran 19 yards for the score. On the second, he recovered a fumble in the end zone. Junior Emery Baughan converted all four extra point kicks for a 28-0 first-quarter lead, which signaled the end of the game realistically.
Berg had hoped for extra work, but it didn't turn out exactly how he planned.
"We had a lot of things we wanted to work on, but we couldn't drive the ball because our defense gave us such great field position," he said. "We were able to play a lot of people and that's good because the young kids are the ones that are making us better during through the week for Friday night."
BHS put the game really out of reach with two more touchdowns in the second quarter and three in the third quarter. Mason had two of them to total five for the game to go along with 123 rushing yards on just 13 carries. Flory had another of the scores, sophomore quarterback Jeremy Wright ran 86 yards for a touchdown off the option and junior tailback Austin Inzer closed out the rout with a three-yard scoring run.
Berg substituted freely starting in the second quarter. It also allowed thoughts to turn to the next district game, the Friday home bout with Topeka Hayden which will probably determine the district champion. Game time is 7 p.m. at Liston Stadium. BHS and Hayden will both bring 6-1 records into the game. Hayden won last year's district bout.
"It's a very good Topeka Hayden team," said Berg. "They are 6-1 and return everyone in the backfield except their quarterback from last year. They are very big up front with speed behind."
Last year's tailback, Steve Schuster, has been moved to quarterback and he leads the Topeka schools in total yardage. Last year, he gained 117 yards against BHS.
"Their quarterback has over 1,000 yards rushing. That's their go-to guy. He can throw a little, too. They're running a lot of quarterback keepers, quarterback isos, quarterback options and counters out of the shot gun set. They are not a balanced offense, but they keep you on your toes."
Hayden beat Perry-Lecompton Friday by a score similar to BHS's win over SFT. Chances are, Friday's winner will also claim the district title.
"We're still taking it on game at a time," said Berg. "It's an important game because we want to make the playoffs and we want to be at home for the first round. We want to bring a home game to the community because of the great support we've had."
On defense, Hayden runs three fronts -- a 5-2, a 6-man and a 4-3 on passing situations. Berg is expecting his team to step it up again this week.
"I'm going to challenge our defense," he said. "They've played great all year, but they're going to have to hold down an explosive team. Offensively, we're going to spread them out and get a running game going."