Bulldogs rally to beat Broncos in OT
It took 10 fourth quarter points and an overtime touchdown, but the Baldwin High School football team kept its postseason hopes alive Friday night at Liston Stadium.
BHS junior Jared Dykes scored three touchdowns to help the Bulldogs (4-4) defeat Spring Hill (3-5) 28-22 in overtime.
"It was huge" coach Mike Berg said of the victory. "That was one of the best wins we've had since I've been here. We were down 10 with six minutes left, but our kids kept fighting and fighting."
Senior Blake Wieden was excited after the game Friday, because it may have been his last home game in a Bulldog uniform.
"It feels great," Wieden said. "To win in overtime and keep our chances alive for the playoffs is a great feeling. It's something I will always remember."
A Bronco touchdown early in the fourth quarter gave Spring Hill a 22-12 lead and control of the game. Baldwin threw an interception on its next possession, which gave Spring Hill the ball back with 9:09 left in the game.
The Bulldogs forced the Broncos to punt, but Spring Hill snapped the ball over its punters head. The ball rolled into the end zone, before the Bronco punter kicked the ball out of bounds for a safety. Baldwin only trailed 22-14 with 6:50 left in the game.
"I've been proud of these guys and their character all year," Berg said. "They never quit. They just keep playing and playing and eventually good things happen."
On the very next play, Wieden connected with junior Drew Berg on a 51-yard pass. One play later, Dykes scored on a 1-yard touchdown. A pass from Wieden to junior Jesse Green on the two-point conversion tied the game 22-22 with 6:24 left.
"It was huge, because we were down eight," Wieden said of the long pass to D. Berg. "It gave us momentum to finish out the game."
Spring Hill then drove down to Baldwin's 27-yard line. Then the Broncos lost two yards, before they suffered three penalties on one play that totaled 35 yards. Then they were forced to punt on a fourth down and 47.
Baldwin was unable to move the ball, which forced overtime. Green intercepted a Bronco pass, giving Baldwin the chance to win the game by scoring any points.
On first down, Dykes was stopped for no gain. Then Wieden scrambled for 9 yards, setting up the winning touchdown by Dykes. He rushed for 1 yard and won the game for Baldwin.
Berg said Wieden's scramble was big because it set up the game-winning score.
"He made a big play with that bootleg," Berg said. "He showed some athleticism. He's done that all year. He's just a great quarterback."
Dykes said he was worried that the team might lose late in the game, but believed the score would help carry the Bulldogs to victory.
"There were a few parts during the game that I was scared we might lose," Dykes said. "After we tied it up, I knew we were going to pull it off somehow."
Spring Hill scored early in the game to take an 8-0 lead, but Baldwin answered right before halftime to make the score 8-6.
Late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs took the lead when sophomore Sam Beecher recovered a fumble for a touchdown. However, two plays later, the Broncos scored on a 20-yard run, taking a 16-12 lead.
The Broncos' running back, senior Dustin Smith, rushed for three touchdowns Friday night. Berg was happy with his defense, even though it allowed Smith a big game.
"That's one of the best running backs in the state," Berg said. "If you make a mistake, he is going to break free. We missed some tackles, but all in all we played really well."
He was also pleased with his offense, because it was able to move the ball down field.
"We found the character of our team offensively," Berg said. "We are a pound-'em, grind-'em team and if we don't make mistakes, we can establish some drives. That's what I was proud of with our team. We had a consistent running game."
The Bulldogs are 1-1 in district play and will need to beat Eudora and get some help to keep their season alive.
"We still have one game to go," Berg said. "I told the kids that Thursday night is going to decide if we go to the playoffs or not."
Baldwin will travel to Eudora to play at 7 p.m. tonight against the Cardinals.
"It's a big rivalry," Wieden said. "We have a lot of momentum coming off of this win. Hopefully, we will play a good game and come out with a win."
Berg said his team has been adjusting to the shorter week, but he knows tonight's game will be a classic rivalry game.
"We have to be physical this week," Berg said. "It's always going to be a good game when Baldwin and Eudora line up."