Home sweet home(coming)
Homecoming couldn't have been any sweeter for the Bulldogs.
Baldwin High School (4-2) trampled Osawatomie 48-0 Friday night at Liston Stadium. To go along with the rout, the Bulldogs' senior linebacker Luke Weaver was chosen as the homecoming king at halftime of the contest.
It was a night many of the Bulldogs will remember.
"This is first the homecoming victory I've had, because we lost last year," junior Sam Beecher said. "It's really nice that one of our teammates won homecoming, too. We just played really hard tonight."
Before the game, the Bulldogs participated in a homecoming parade and pep rally. Senior Kyle Smith said the events helped the Bulldogs relax before the game.
"This was nice," Smith said. "We needed it. We were pretty fired up for homecoming. The parade took our minds off the game, but then we were able to get focused and play."
Friday's victory marked the second straight shut out by the BHS defense. Once again, the junior varsity players recovered a fumble deep in their own territory to seal the deal.
Junior Jared McCall forced the fumble and junior Alan Callahan dove on the ball with 17.9 seconds remaining in the contest.
"I am proud," Berg said. "The JV kids are taking that personal now. They are coming into the game at the end and playing their hearts out. That's all we can ask. They know the older guys want that shutout and they are working hard on getting it."
Within a 15-minute span, BHS turned a seven-point game into a 48-point blow out. During the final 2:30 of the first half, the Bulldogs scored a pair of touchdowns to take a 20-0 lead into halftime.
The first score was a 12-yard touchdown run by Beecher. It capped off an eight-play, 75-yard drive.
After an Osawatomie punt, Baldwin again drove 63 yards in 1:02 to score. Senior Drew Berg found Smith in the end zone on a 25-yard touchdown strike. It was the second time the pair of seniors hooked up for a touchdown Friday.
"It was a pretty nice feeling," Smith said of his touchdowns. "That's all I can say about that. It was nice."
Baldwin used its momentum to rout the Trojans in the second half. BHS only needed nine plays to score four touchdowns during the third quarter.
Beecher broke for two long runs. His first was 44 yards and his second was 48 yards. Both went for touchdowns. Beecher rushed for 155 yards and three touchdowns Friday.
"We had a few penalties at the beginning," Beecher said. "Then we got in the offensive line's face and they got into our face. The coaches said we needed to run harder, so we did and the line blocked better. There were big holes everywhere."
Seniors Gabe Mason and Jared Hall scored the other two touchdowns for BHS. Mason rushed for a 14-yard score while Hall crossed the end zone on a 20-yard run.
"We didn't have any mistakes, penalties or turnovers," coach Berg said of the Bulldogs' second half. "We capitalized on their mistakes. We had two interceptions by Logan (Schiller) and Jesse (Green). We turned those into touchdowns. We have to start winning the turnover battle."
Baldwin began the game by scoring on its opening possession. BHS drove 73 yards in nine plays. D. Berg connected with Smith on a 38-yard touchdown strike to take a quick 7-0 lead.
However, Baldwin sputtered on its next two possessions as it racked up five penalties worth 40 yards. Coach Berg said his team can't commit penalties or the offense will struggle.
"I've said it until I'm blue in the face, but I'll say it again; too many penalties," Coach Berg said of the first half. "I didn't have to say turnovers this week, but too many penalties. We had penalties at bad times and with our offense that hurts. Those are things we have to correct now."
The Bulldogs will now begin district play this week. They will have two road games at De Soto and Spring Hill before returning home for senior night.
"Our goal was to be 4-2 going into districts," Beecher said. "De Soto, Eudora and Spring Hill are going to be tough. We just need to be ready to play each game."
Baldwin (4-2) will play at 7 p.m. Friday at De Soto (4-2) to begin district action.
"They have the exact same record and have lost to the same two teams we have," coach Berg said. "It's going to be a great match up. They have a lot of team speed. Last year they beat us, so our kids are going to be ready for it."