Bulldogs win defensive battle
LOUISBURG -- A couple inches of rain worsened the field conditions at Liston Stadium, forcing the Baldwin High School football team to move its home game to Louisburg Friday night.
"I think it was a shock that we had to get on a bus and go," coach Mike Berg said. "They had to change their whole routine. But I think it all worked out."
The Bulldogs traveled down there and pulled out a 14-7 victory, knocking off the previously unbeaten Wildcats. Both teams are 3-1 on the season.
"It was probably our biggest win of the season so far," Berg said. "Louisburg was undefeated and we had to go down to their place. I was just proud of the way we played."
Berg said the game was strange because the Bulldogs were supposed to play at home.
"It was really weird, especially having our home jerseys on their home field," Berg said. "I think it took our kids a couple series to figure out it's just a football game and it doesn't matter where we play it."
After the initial awkwardness was over, the Bulldogs still had to stop an undefeated team. Louisburg ran the opening kick back to the Bulldogs' 38-yard line.
Seven plays later the Wildcats scored on a five-yard pass to take an early 7-0 lead.
"I got excited and told the guys we had to get great field position and get this touchdown right back," Berg said. "They exceeded my expectation and went and scored a touchdown."
BHS junior Aaron Mills then answered the call for Baldwin as he ran the following kickoff back 86 yards for a touchdown. Sophomore Kevin Callahan kicked the extra point to tie the game 7-7 with 8:25 remaining in the first quarter.
"I can't even explain it," Mills said. "It was awesome. I had (Aaron) Hannon running down screaming at me to go. It helped us get hyped up."
After both teams scored, the game calmed down and it eventually became a defensive battle for three-and-a-half quarters.
The next and final score of the game came early in the second quarter. Baldwin took possession on its own 47-yard line and scored a touchdown three plays later.
Senior Klay Garrison carried the ball twice on the drive for a total of 48 yards, including the 15-yard touchdown run.
The Bulldogs entered halftime with a 14-7 lead and relied on their defense for the remainder of the game.
Baldwin only allowed 67 yards rushing during the second and third quarters. If not for a 50-yard run, Baldwin would have held Louisburg to only 17 yards rushing in the fourth quarter.
Neither team scored in the second half as Baldwin won 14-7.
"It felt pretty good to get the win," Mills said. "The team came out and played pretty strong. We played a good defensive game, which helped us out a lot."
Senior Josiah Mason said the defense should receive most of the credit for the victory.
"Our defense pretty much won us that game," Mason said. "Our line did a really good job of letting the linebackers run free. Our backers were filling the gaps. We had an overall defensive victory."
Berg said the defense played its best game of the year, despite allowing a few long plays from Louisburg.
"They played the best they have all year, just perfect," Berg said. "We let them have a couple big plays. Then we had to stop them and we did. Our kids really stepped up and played well."
Berg said the game was about both defenses and which team would be the one to give up the points.
"It was two great defenses going head-to-head," Berg said. "It was like the last team with the ball was going to win. Our defense had so many goal line stands."
The win helped the Bulldogs in the Frontier League standings, since Louisburg was undefeated in the league before Friday.
"It is a big win and now we've got to hope Louisburg beats Paola and we can tie for first," Berg said.
Mason also said it was weird playing at Louisburg, but he said the field helped the team.
"Their field was very good for our team," Mason said. "It was fast and dry. It turned out really good for us."
The Bulldogs' next opponent is the Ottawa Cyclones, a team that is 1-3 on the season.
"They have a lot of speed and they are coming off a loss to Prairie View," Berg said. "We know that they are a good team. They just have a great program down there."
Berg said the team has been working on offensive consistency and tackling this week as it prepares for Ottawa.
Baldwin plays at 7 p.m. Friday in Ottawa. Last year, Baldwin beat Ottawa 27-7 at home.