Bulldogs lose to Eudora, stay alive for playoffs
Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg had about 90 seconds to make a season-changing decision here Thursday night.
After his Bulldogs scored the final touchdown of the game with 21 seconds remaining in the contest, Berg had two choices.
First, he could have told his team to attempt a two-point conversion. A converted attempt would have made the Bulldogs district champs and they would host a home game Tuesday. However, a failed conversion would have probably ended the Bulldogs’ season.
So, Berg opted for the safe choice. He chose to kick the extra point. That one point meant the difference between staying home Tuesday or continuing the season.
“I thought about it 20 times as we were moving down the field,” Berg said. “I thought about the kids. We didn’t play very well tonight and I know anything can happen in the playoffs, so I just wanted us to get into the playoffs.”
Senior Logan Schiller stepped up ready to boot the crucial kick. However, Eudora called a timeout to give him extra time to think about the next play.
“I tried not to feel the pressure, but I was thinking about it quite a bit,” Schiller said. “I still made it. I knew I had to make it, but I tried not to think about it.”
Baldwin snapped the ball, senior Andy Thurlow placed it on the tee and Schiller booted it through the goal posts. Baldwin fans erupted as if the Bulldogs had won the game. The kick didn’t mean a BHS victory as Eudora won 35-28, but it meant BHS stays alive for postseason action.
“Seven was the magic number for us,” Berg said. “We are going to be playing on the road. If we lost by six, we would be playing at home. We made the decision to kick as a coaching staff, because we had confidence in Schiller. We didn’t want to put our season on the line with a two-point conversion.”
Berg continued by saying a three-way tie for district champ hadn’t ever occurred during his nine-year tenure as BHS head coach.
“This is a feeling I’ve never had as a coach,” he said. “Like I told the team, it’s a bitter-sweet feeling. We got out-hit tonight. Eudora absolutely ran right at us and we couldn’t stop them. My hat’s off to them for a great scheme. We just came up short.”
Eudora did have one final shot to score, but it only had 21 seconds and the ball on its own 37-yard line. The Cardinals completed a short pass, but were stopped on their last play.
The Bulldogs’ final drive of the game went 71 yards in 90 seconds. Senior Sam Beecher completed passes to four different receivers near the sideline. He finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“They were very smart on that drive,” Berg said. “They were getting out of bounds when they had to. Sam found them down field or he took off running when they weren’t open. They executed on that drive. I also found something about our team. I know we can throw the ball.”
Eudora’s Ryan Fisher was the star of the night as he led the Cardinals’ attack all game long. He carried the ball 49 times for 443 yards and five touchdowns.
Baldwin answered Fisher’s first three scores of the night with touchdowns of its own. Seniors Andy Thurlow, Brandon Tommer and Beecher scored for BHS.
Perry-Lecompton won the district with 14 points differential in its three games. BHS had 13 points and Eudora had 12.
“It was a tough loss, but we got some relief by barely making it into the playoffs,” Schiller said. “It’s nice to still be alive. We’ve got a second chance now.”