Berg hits jackpot with two-point gamble
Baldwin High football vs. Louisburg
Baldwin High School won its third game in a row in 2011 with a home victory over Louisburg, who had previously beaten the Bulldogs four of the last six times. BHS won 34-33 after scoring a touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in the contest and converting a two-point conversion.
Mike Berg rolled the dice late in Friday's Baldwin High School football game.
Baldwin High's coach trusted his team to make one final play for the win, when he opted to try a two-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point Friday.
Berg's gamble paid off as his Bulldogs beat a Frontier League foe that defeated the Bulldogs four of the last six games. They beat Louisburg 34-33.
“I was going to kick the ball,” Berg said. “I changed my mind when (Louisburg) called a timeout. We talked as a coaching staff and decided to go for the win. We had the momentum and didn't want their offense back on the field. Our kids were fired up in the huddle.”
Sophomore Cornell Brown scored a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the game. Brown caught a 13-yard pass from sophomore Chad Berg. The score put Baldwin within one point with in Louisburg.
“Cornell wasn't the main guy on the play,” C. Berg said. “I knew that they were going to be all over Dayton, so I told Cornell to go right down the middle and it was wide open.”
Coach Berg sent his extra-point squad on the field, but Louisburg coaches called a timeout. After the timeout, Baldwin came back on the field with its offense.
Following another Louisburg timeout, C. Berg converted the two-point conversion to give BHS a 34-33 lead. C. Berg ran the ball behind junior Dayton Valentine, who faked a handoff from C. Berg.
“I didn't know what my dad would call,” C. Berg said. “Once he called the play, I knew all I had to do was follow Dayton.”
Louisburg's star Garrett Griffin threw a hail mary on the game's final play and it was caught at Baldwin's 4 yard line. The Wildcats' player was tackled immediately and BHS won the game.
“The win feels awesome,” C. Berg said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game. It's just awesome to get a win tonight. It was such a fun game.”
Coach Berg was happy his players were able to beat the Wildcats, who had previously beat Baldwin four of the last six times.
“It's a win that our kids will remember forever, especially with how exciting it ended,” coach Berg said. “It was just determination. Our kids didn't give up. (Louisburg) has a very good football team and we knew what they were going to do, but they executed so well that it was hard to stop them. We just kept plugging along. Our game plan was to wear them down. We just hung on enough that we could stay close and get the lead at the end. We did just that.”
Baldwin took a 26-20 lead after its first possession in the second half. BHS marched 74 yards in seven plays to take its first lead of the game. Valentine finished the drive with a one-yard run into the end zone. He rushed three times for 43 yards on the drive.
Louisburg responded with a touchdown drive of its own, taking a 27-26 lead. The Wildcats' final touchdown came with 3:47 left in the game.
Brown scored two touchdowns earlier in the game. He scored on a 22-yard run and a 14-yard run during the first half. C. Berg caught a 62-yard pass for a touchdown immediately following an interception by senior Alex Twombly late in the first half. C. Berg's touchdown brought the Bulldogs back to within two points of the Wildcats.
“Our home crowd got fired up and our guys got fired up,” coach Berg said. “That's what we need to do without scoring. We need to play with that emotion all of the time.
“Cornell had a great night,” he said. “He caught the ball and ran the ball well. That's what we need. We need our kids to step up every game and our whole team stepped up tonight. It was a total team win.”
Friday's win was the third consecutive for the Bulldogs after starting the season 1-2.
“We're on a three-game winning streak,” coach Berg said. “I couldn't be happier to win this one at home against the defending state champions. I would say Garrett Griffin is the best player in the state. They ran all over us, but our kids never gave up and we got a big win tonight.”
Baldwin will begin its Class 4A district schedule Friday at Ottawa. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Score by quarter
L – 7 13 7 6 - 33
B – 6 12 8 8 – 34
L ― Garrett Griffin 38 run (Jason Danciak kick)
B ― Cornell Brown 22 run (Austin Kraus kick missed)
L ― Luke Hupp 5 run (Danciak kick)
L ― Blaise Staver 41 run (Danciak kick missed)
B ― Brown 14 run (Kraus kick blocked)
B ― Chad Berg 62 reception from Tyler Cawley (Cawley pass failed)
B ― Dayton Valentine 1 run (Berg run good)
L ― Griffin 79 run (Danciak kick)
L ― Griffin 1 run (Danciak kick blocked)
B ― Brown 13 reception from Berg (Berg run good)