Bulldogs ready for home opener
PAOLA -- It was dejvu for the Baldwin High School football team here Friday night.
For the second straight week, the Bulldogs fell behind by 30 points before scoring touchdowns of their own.
Baldwin (0-2) trailed Paola 31-0, but came back with two scoring drives before losing 39-14.
"It was the tale of two halves," coach Mike Berg said. "We've got to figure out how to come out of the gate with the intensity that we are playing with in the second half."
After recovering a fumble early in the game, Baldwin marched down the field with a 15-play drive. Then the Bulldogs failed to convert a fourth down at the Panther 10-yard line.
"We've got to come out of the chute and drive the ball. We had that big drive and then stalled on the 10-yard line."
Paola gained the momentum and never looked back. The Panthers scored touchdowns on their next two drives. They added a field goal to take a 17-0 lead into halftime.
Berg knew what his team's problem was at halftime.
"We've got too many mental breakdowns that are allowing big plays," Berg said. "We've got to eliminate our mistakes again to eliminate those big plays."
Paola came out of halftime and scored two more touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the third quarter, giving the Panthers a 31-0 lead.
The Bulldogs then put together a nine-play drive that finished with a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior Blake Wieden to junior Drew Berg.
On Baldwin's next possession, it capped off a 10-play, 60-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run from sophomore Sam Beecher.
Paola scored another touchdown late in the game, giving it a 39-14 win Friday night.
Beecher rushed 25 times for 156 yards, which accounted for the majority of the Bulldogs' offense.
"We knew he was a special player," Berg said. "When things weren't going good in week one, it was time to throw him in there, so he could show us what he could do. He is going to a special player. He is a strong runner, he's got speed and I think our team has confidence in him."
Baldwin will try to put the first two games in the past, as it prepares for the Bulldog Bash and home opener of the 2006 season.
"We need to work on all phases of the game," D. Berg said. "We need to come out and perform well."
Beecher also said the team needs to improve on both sides of the ball.
"On defense, we didn't do our correct jobs and on offense we just need everybody doing their assignments," Beecher said. "We need to come out more intense."
On Friday, the Bulldogs host Prairie View at Baker University's Liston Stadium. It will be their first home game, which means the seventh-annual Bulldog Bash will take place before the game.
"We are really excited," D. Berg said. "We played two tough teams on the road and it will be nice to play at home with our home fans at the Bash."
Prairie View does present some problems for the Bulldogs, but Berg wants to get a win this week.
"They are big and physical," Berg said. "We are going to expect to see a really good team. We are sitting 0-2 right now, so we need to play hard and get a win."
Berg is ready for a home game.
"Most definitely," Berg said. "Being on the road against two good opponents like that with a young team, that's hard. We will get better, but being at home is really going to help us."
The Bulldogs practiced on the new artificial turf surface at Liston on Tuesday night and enjoyed it.
"It was great," D. Berg said. "I really like the feel of it. It's a lot softer than grass."
The Bash begins at 5 p.m. with kickoff at 7 p.m.