Bulldogs air it out against Buffalos
LA CYGNE -- It might not be airing it out, but the eight completions for 113 yards helped the Baldwin High School football team defeat Prairie View 35-17 here Friday night.
Last week, the Bulldogs rushed over Paola for 378 yards and three touchdowns. This week the Bulldogs spread out the Buffalos with a passing game.
"We've been working on it," coach Mike Berg said of passing the ball. "We have the capabilities to pass the ball, but it's just not our strength."
Senior Drew Berg completed seven passes for 94 yards, including one touchdown to junior Brandon Tommer. Junior Sam Beecher completed the other pass for 19 yards.
"We dropped a lot of passes against Paola, so it was nice to step up and get the ball this week," Tommer said. "I caught my first touchdown of my varsity career. That was nice."
Senior Jesse Green caught four passes for 39 yards Friday night. He was the leading receiver returning this fall for BHS, so he was thrilled to see some passes come his way.
"It was nice to actually get some catches," Green said. "We are starting to pass a little bit more. We've tried, but things actually clicked Friday."
Berg said the Bulldogs will need to start passing more, because teams are beginning to stack the line of scrimmage with many defenders to stop their running.
While the passing game may have had success Friday, so did the Bulldogs rushing attack. They ran the ball 59 times for 318 yards against the Buffalos.
Baldwin rushed for four touchdowns Friday, with a different runner each time. Senior Zach Durr began the game with another big run as he broke for a 37-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs' first possession.
After the Bulldogs' 20-yard score from D. Berg to Tommer, they scored again. D. Berg ran a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-goal at the Prairie View 1-yard line. He crossed the end zone enough to give BHS a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
"We got the three touchdown lead, which was a good way to start," coach Berg said. "You can not let a team feel like they can play with you. I thought our guys put that out of Prairie View's mind for the first quarter and a half."
Then momentum shifted with one play. The Buffalos threw a halfback pass for 64 yards that scored on their first play after the Bulldogs 21-0 lead.
"That's what is so fun about football," Berg said. "One play can get you back in the game. Kyle Smith was right there to make the play, but they made a good catch."
Baldwin threw an interception on its very next play, giving Prairie View the ball on Baldwin's 27-yard line. BHS held the Buffalos to a field goal as it headed into halftime with a 21-9 lead.
"They had momentum," Berg said. "Instead of doing what we do best, which is run the ball, we came out and tried to throw. Then we threw an interception. That's just a bad play call on my part, but the kids responded in the second half and we got back to our running game."
Baldwin came out of the break with a 10-play, 54-yard drive that ended with Beecher rushing for a 26-yard touchdown.
"We got a little fired up at halftime," Tommer said. "Coach (Scott) Hall was yelling at us a lot. He got us fired up."
The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Senior Gabe Mason ran up the middle for 13 yards as he gave the Bulldogs a 36-9 lead.
Prairie View scored again as Baldwin gave its bench some playing time in the final few minutes. It wasn't enough as BHS won 35-17.
"It felt good to get the first road win," Green said. "We were kind of nervous, because they are better than they have been. They are small, but fast."
Berg agreed with Green, saying his team came focused to get its first road win of the season.
"We are extremely happy to come away with a win," Berg said. "It was our first road game and we were nervous about playing on the road. Prairie View is much improved. They came out and hit us. I am so proud of the way the guys came off the bus and focused.
"We said we've got to be 2-1," Berg said. "We split our season into three stages and we thought 2-1 was a realistic goal. We reached it and we are pretty happy."
Baldwin will now host Ottawa at 7 p.m. Friday at Baker University's Liston Stadium.
"We are just going to get ready for another home contest," Berg said. "Ottawa is improved from last year. They haven't won a game, but they played Spring Hill tough last week. They will be a challenge for us."