Bulldogs buck Broncos
Spring Hill -- Another week has gone by and once again the Baldwin High School football team rolled over another opponent as it defeated Spring Hill 61-26 Friday night.
"We were really excited to start the district competition, so we were really up for the game," senior John Brown said. "Spring Hill is one of those teams you can't sleep on. We wanted to come out strong and get a victory."
The Bulldogs (6-1) crushed the Broncos (1-6) by racking up 388 yards rushing and passing for another 185 yards. It was the first game of districts for both teams.
"Every time we get a win it builds momentum for us for later in the year," coach Mike Berg said. "We are 1-0 now in districts and we feel pretty good about it."
The game itself lasted for more than three hours, especially since the third quarter drug on for nearly an hour.
"It was one of the longest games I think I have ever been involved in," Berg said. "It was a fun game too. They were a really tough team to defend."
One reason for the length of the game was the fact that the Broncos are a passing team, which caused the clock to stop frequently.
"Our game plan was not to let them beat us with the deep pass," Berg said. "Yeah they caught a lot of passes, but they also dropped a lot of passes. We just didn't want them to get a big play on us."
Junior Blake Wieden said the Bulldogs had to change defensive schemes from previous weeks, but were able to handle the Broncos' offense.
"We had a little different scheme going in because of their passing game," Wieden said. "We defended it pretty well though."
Baldwin once again started the game off hot as it scored touchdowns on it first two possessions. Seniors Jeremy Wright and Klay Garrison each rushed for Baldwin's first scores.
After the quick 14-0 lead by Baldwin, Spring Hill turned the ball over twice with an interception and a fumble. The Bulldogs capitalized and scored on a 78-yard screen pass from Wright to senior Aaron Hannon.
"We held them on their first couple of drives, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game," Wieden said.
Garrison then added another touchdown run to give Baldwin a 28-0 lead. Then junior Aaron Mills returned a punt 70 yards to make the score 34-0 at halftime.
Berg said the early scores were important to the team's success.
"Last year we didn't do that against Spring Hill and they were with us to the very end," Berg said. "We didn't want that to happen this year. We wanted to get on top of them early and stay on top."
Berg also said the coaches tried telling the players not to come out slow in the second half.
"For the last couple weeks we have been up at halftime and come out kind of flat the second half," Berg said. "We did it again. I told the guys we can't do that and to they need to keep their intensity up."
Both teams exchanged touchdowns throughout the second half. Spring Hill scored quickly on a four-play drive that covered 77 yards, and got the Broncos on the scoreboard, 34-8.
Baldwin answered with a three-yard run by senior Josiah Mason. The Bulldogs scored again when Brown broke a 12-yard run to take a 48-8 lead.
The Bulldogs were able to rest many starters late in the game as they played several younger players.
"It's always fun to see those younger guys in there getting more experience," Brown said. "It's always nice to get them exposed to the game."
Spring Hill scored twice before Baldwin scored its final two touchdowns. Wright rushed for a score while Wieden threw a 20-yard strike to sophomore Jesse Green. Spring Hill added one more touchdown late, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs won 61-26.
"It puts us in really good position going into our last two games," Brown said of the win. "We are looking to go 3-0 in districts and hopefully we can do that."
Brown credited the boys up front for the victory.
"The linemen were really working great," Brown said. "They were doing a good job up front on offense and defense. They let us do what we wanted to do."
Berg was proud of how his defense played Friday, despite the different playing style by Spring Hill.
"Our coaches did a super job of making it easy for them to make adjustments," Berg said. "We were running the same coverages with different fronts. It was pretty easy to adapt and our kids did really well with it."
The Bulldogs head into their second district game against Santa Fe Trail. The kickoff for the game will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Liston Stadium. Baldwin's final regular season game will be Oct. 27 at home versus Eudora.
"They played Eudora really tough and I was impressed with watching them on film," Berg said of SFT. "They are physical. We got to get back to our old defenses and control the line of scrimmage."