Bulldogs drop first game of season
Ill-timed miscues proved to be the undoing of Baldwin High School's unbeaten season Friday night at Louisburg. Penalties, fumbles and interceptions led to a 13-12 loss at the hands of the Wildcats.
Statistically, BHS was better. The Bulldogs rushed for 225 yards to Louisburg's 90. But, on too many occasions, BHS would be driving, only to be stalled by a yellow flag or some sort of bobble.
"We had nothing to show for it," said coach Mike Berg concerning the Bulldogs' better numbers -- except for the scoreboard, where it counts most. "We just had missed opportunities. We'd have a bad snap exchange on a third down. Then it was fourth down. We just had mistakes at the wrong time. That's what hurt us.
"We really did not have good field position," said Berg. "We need to work on our punt return team. We had a lot of punts roll a long ways."
The Bulldogs got on the board first, when junior quarterback Jeremy Wright hit 6-foot, 185-pound senior receiver Earl McNish for a 21-yard scoring strike in the second quarter. A bad snap cost the extra point attempt, which would prove to be costly.
Louisburg countered with a touchdown and a successful kick to take a 7-6 halftime lead. The Wildcats then took the lead for good in the fourth quarter on a four-yard run by Ryan Holt. This time the kick failed, but the Wildcats were up 13-6.
On the ensuing kickoff, Austin Inzer, a 6-1, 175-pound senior, fielded the ball and took off on an 80-yard touchdown return. Going for the win on the road, the Bulldogs went for the two-point conversion, but the run was stopped and the final 13-12 score was in place.
BHS had four fumbles, losing one, two interceptions and four costly penalties. The biggest problem was they came at just the wrong time.
"That's it," said Berg about the timing of the miscues. "We're just going to go back on our fundamentals, such as staying on blocks. That's one thing we didn't do. We're one player away on every play. We've been in that rut for awhile and we need to get out of it. We just need to be more consistent."
Inzer was the big offensive producer with 115 yards on 11 carries, in addition to his kickoff return touchdown. Junior Klay Garrison had 43 yards on 12 carries and Wright had 37 yards on 13 carries.
The defense, however, has been consistent and that didn't change Friday on the road. The Bulldogs only allowed 197 total yards.
"The defense did a really good job," he said. "It was one of their best outings. We held them in check. They only completed two passes, but they were big ones. We didn't get enough pressure on them.
"We really stopped their running game," said Berg. "We had one missed assignment and that's when they scored. We didn't have the person who was supposed to tackle the dive man there. That's why the option can be so dangerous."
The loss ended BHS's unbeaten string and dropped the Bulldogs' record to 3-1 on the year. Louisburg improved to 3-1. Next up for BHS is a home game at 7 p.m. Friday at Liston Stadium against the Ottawa Cyclones.
"We've lost to the same team," Berg said of Ottawa, which fell 21-12 to Louisburg in week three. "We're both 3-1 and we're glad to be at home. Being on the road in a hostile environment didn't help us.
"They are in the shotgun the whole time on offense," he said. "They run reverses and options and they throw the ball a lot. It's the first time we've played them in four years. They've got some kids that are pretty fast."
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