Gardner blazes BHS in opener
GARDNER -- In its season opening game, the Baldwin High School football team was run over by Gardner-Edgerton 36-19 here Friday night.
The Bulldogs (0-1) allowed 443 yards of offense by the Trailblazers (1-0), while only totaling 184 yards of their own. BHS coach Mike Berg said the loss was difficult to take, especially for the coaches.
"It was a very tough loss," Berg said. "We are emotionally over it right now. I know the coaching staff isn't, but our team has looked ahead to the next game. We are going to learn from it, because it was an eye opener for all of us."
Berg also said the team didn't play as hard as it should have, but it was a total team loss Friday.
"We didn't come and play hard," Berg said. "We got out hustled. We got beat up front and we got out coached. They did some things that we weren't ready for and the kids weren't ready for. That's the coaches' fault, so I told the kids we lost as a team. When our team loses, our coaches lose, too."
Junior Jacob Enick said Gardner came out and beat the Bulldogs from the beginning.
"We were expecting to do better than that, but they came out, hit us in the mouth and we never recovered from that," Enick said. "We did well in the fourth quarter."
After trailing 30-0, BHS scored its first touchdown of the night early in the fourth quarter. Senior Aaron Mills capped off a 13-play, 70-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to make the score 30-7.
Gardner scored its final touchdown of the night on the next possession. BHS then trailed 36-7.
"It took us three quarters to finally wake up," Berg said. "We had a good fourth quarter. We played in the fourth quarter like we are capable of playing."
Then the Bulldogs answered with another score with a 7-play, 65-yard drive. Senior Blake Wieden found junior Drew Berg in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass, making the score 36-13.
BHS senior Michael Giarraputo intercepted a Trailblazer pass on the next possession. The Bulldogs then scored on a 1-yard run from junior Chase Abel to make the score 36-19.
It was the final score of the night, as Gardner then ended the game.
"I thought that we made way too many mistakes and we couldn't recover from them," Enick said.
The Bulldogs began the game playing from behind as GEHS marched down and scored on its first possession. A 1-yard run gave the Blazers a 7-0 lead.
Gardner also scored on its next possession with a 43-yard pass. After one quarter of play, Baldwin trailed 13-0.
Berg said the reason for the slow start has to do with emotion.
"They (Gardner) played with emotion," Berg said. "We walked off the bus with no emotion. We had no emotion on the sidelines or on the field. They got up on us early. Everyone was looking around to see who was going to step up and make a play, instead of being the first guy to make a play.
BHS held Gardner to only a field goal in the second quarter. Then the Blazers put the game away right after halftime.
They scored 1:36 into the third quarter on a 36-yard run. Then the Blazers recovered a BHS fumble on the kickoff. That turnover soon became a touchdown pass for the Blazers. With 7:57 left in the third quarter Baldwin trailed 30-0.
Berg said the team had many problems, especially on the offensive line.
"We've got kids that aren't doing their technique right," Berg said. "It was kind of a free-for-all. When we were out there, it's like we had forgotten or didn't want to do."
Berg was proud of how his team never quit during the game.
"I told the kids to never quit and they never quit," Berg said. "We stuck with our game plan and started playing harder. We are just going to keep working and get better. We could have gotten beat 60-0, but we didn't let that happen."
The Bulldogs will now travel to Paola to play at 7 p.m. Friday. Berg said the team must correct its mistakes before playing the Panthers, who beat the Bulldogs 26-19 last year.
"We are going to go back, look at ourselves and fix our mistakes," Berg said. "We are going back to fix our mistakes and worry about what Baldwin does. We know what Paola is going to do. They haven't changed in the last eight years. We have to play with emotion. That's the big thing we were missing."