BHS weather Cyclones
After throwing three for touchdowns a week ago, the Baldwin High School running game got back on track Tuesday night.
BHS threw a trio of touchdowns last Thursday in its 20-19 victory over Eudora to win the district crown. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs (8-2) racked up 515 yards of offense and rushed for six scores in their 41-7 win over Bishop Ward.
"That was the goal," BHS coach Mike Berg said. "We have to get the ball going on the ground. We didn't have a rushing touchdown last week, so that was our goal tonight. We were able to accomplish that."
Tuesday's victory gave BHS the bi-district championship and kept its season alive.
BHS senior Gabe Mason was almost speechless after the win. He was so happy to keep his final season as a Bulldog alive.
"I am so happy that we made it this far, but we have to keep going," Mason said. "It's so amazing. I just can't explain it."
Mason led the way for BHS as he scored three of the touchdowns. As a team, Baldwin rushed for 476 yards as its trio of running backs continues to produce each game.
Mason rushed for touchdowns of one, three and 60 yards. His longest run came in the fourth quarter. He broke through the line and out ran the Bishop Ward secondary en route to the end zone.
"I was determined enough to get it in," Mason said. "I had some great blocks up front to help me. I wasn't going to get caught from behind."
Senior Jared Hall scored twice and junior Sam Beecher tallied the other touchdown.
"We ran the ball and our offensive line made some great holes," senior Drew Berg said. "Our running backs broke tackles and ran hard. It was a total team effort."
Baldwin's rushing attack jumped on the Cyclones early. BHS scored on its first possession and nearly scored on the next one until it was stopped at the one-yard line.
The Bulldogs bounced back by scoring on its final two possessions of the first half to take a 21-0 lead into the break. Baldwin controlled the ball for more than 10 minutes of the second quarter.
"It was awesome," Drew Berg said. "Right now all we have to do is keep winning. Our offensive line won the battle up front for us tonight."
The Bulldogs came out of halftime and scored on their first two possessions of the second half. The first was a 73-yard drive that ate 4:47 off the clock, while the second drive went 64 yards in eight plays. Both ended in touchdowns.
Baldwin's offense wasn't the only highlight of the night. The BHS defense shut down the Cyclones' aerial attack. BHS defenders deflected passes and wrapped up players all night long to stop its opponent from scoring.
"They really threw the ball a lot and spread us out," Drew Berg said. "It was really tough to defend. Our defense played well, though. We got some penetration up front and our secondary made some plays."
Baldwin did allow one touchdown with 1:17 left in the game while the junior varsity players were on the field.
"I'm not disappointed about that, because we got our young kids in who deserve to play," coach Berg said. "They are learning. They are going to be the guys who have to line up next year and I wanted them to have some playoff experience."
Baldwin had a chance at a few interceptions Tuesday, but dropped all of them. Coach Berg was happy with his team's effort despite the mistakes.
"We made some mistakes, but when you score 41 points in the playoffs, you're doing something right," he said. "Our kids played hard each and every down. That's all we can ask of them."
Tuesday may have been the final home game for the senior class. Coach Berg hopes it wasn't, because he knows how well his players perform at home.
"This is a great win for us," Berg said. "Playing in front of this home crowd is something special for these seniors. This was a special night."
Baldwin will next play in the Class 4A regional round. The game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in Marysville.
Bishop Ward -- 0 0 0 7 - 7
Baldwin - 7 14 14 6 - 41
B -- Jared Hall 9 run (Logan Schiller kick)
B -- Sam Beecher 4 run (Schiller kick)
B -- Gabe Mason 1 run (Schiller kick)
B -- Mason 3 run (Schiller kick)
B -- Hall 5 run (Schiller kick)
B -- Mason 60 run (Schiller kick wide right)
BW -- Beau Stoker 33 reception from John Oropeza (Stoker kick