BHS defense dominates Spring Hill
Baldwin High School opened district play Friday night with a 20-6 win over Spring Hill at Liston Stadium, but the Bulldogs did it in a different fashion.
The defense dominated, while the offense sputtered. BHS's defense held Spring Hill's Broncos to an amazing six yards on the ground, 59 through the air, for only 65 yards in total offense. The Broncos could only squeeze out three first downs and the majority of their offense came on one 27-yard pass play.
But, the Bulldog offense didn't capitalize like it could have. BHS was flagged 10 times for 65 yards in penalties and had two turnovers.
"We played our best defensive game of the year I'd say after watching the film," said coach Mike Berg. "And we played our worst game on offense all year. I saw some good things on offense, but we made some mistakes that killed drives.
"They are mistakes that can be corrected, which is good," said Berg. "If we were smaller, weaker and slower than our opponents, it would be different. These are mental mistakes that we can fix. We're one or two people away on every play that are breaking it down."
That sputtering started early, with the Bulldogs punting after their first two possessions. Then the defense came through when sophomore Aaron Mills pounced on a Bronco fumble with 4:52 left in the first quarter. BHS drove 42 yards in eight plays with senior fullback Luke Halford capping the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. Senior Emery Baughan added the extra point kick and BHS was up for good at 7-0.
But, despite another fumble recovery by Mills on the ensuring kickoff, BHS still wasn't able to snap the offensive woes then, or the rest of the half and only had that 7-0 lead at halftime.
Halftime adjustments worked initially, though, and BHS quickly put up another score early in the third quarter after the defense stuffed Spring Hill on its first possession of the half. The Bulldogs drove 65 yards in just six plays and all of it came from the tailback-tandem of senior Austin Inzer and junior Klay Garrison. Inzer covered the final 27 yards when he broke out of a pack and outraced everyone to the end zone. Baughan added the kick at BHS was up 14-0 with 8:12 left in the quarter.
Spring Hill would score for the only time just before the end of the frame after a three-yard punt by the Bulldogs gave the Broncos their only field position of the night. They drove 42 yards in eight plays, with most of that covered with an outstanding catch for the 27-yard pass completion.
BHS sputtered again on offense and the third quarter ended on an interception. The Bulldogs' first possession of the final frame was stalled by a penalty and a fumble. Their final score of the night would come on the next possession when Garrison galloped for a 49-yard touchdown run. That was the end of the scoring.
The Bulldogs ended the night with 279 yards on the ground, only nine through the air, for a total of 288. The lion's share of that came from Garrison and Inzer. Garrison had 135 yards on 20 carries and Inzer had 96 yards on 15 totes.
"They have been really good for our offense this year to be able to rotate those guys," said Berg. "We had to run the simple stuff because we weren't executing. Anything that was a little difficult, we couldn't do. So, we had a very vanilla offense.
"Our passing game just wasn't there," he said. "It's just overall execution. We're not doing things right. We're not running crisp routes. Every drop we had was someone not being where they were supposed to be," he said. "The couple of times we did run good routes, we didn't have protection. That's going to hurt the passing game."
Berg was also concerned by the lack of offensive intensity in the first half, but was still pleased with the outcome.
"I thought the kids played hard overall," he said. "We didn't play hard in the first half on offense. They had the intensity in the first half we didn't on offense. I thought our defense play with that intensity and the funny this is, that's the same guys.
"We got a big win, we got a district win and we're happy about that," said Berg. "It's time to move on. Fix our mistakes and move onto the next opponent."
BHS, now 6-1, will make the short trip to Santa Fe Trail Friday night for a 7 p.m. game with the 1-6 Chargers.
"They have totally revamped their offense," he said. "They're running the wing-T with reverses and screen passes mixed in with the short passing game of play action and three-step drops. They run a 5-3 on defense which was the same thing we saw Friday night.
"Again, they are young and are playing a lot of sophomores and juniors," said Berg. "But they play hard. We're going to be in a game if we don't have the intensity like we did last week."