BHS earns state football playoff berth
CARBONDALE ― Baldwin High School's football team responded to a quick Santa Fe Trail touchdown with 28 unanswered points en route to a 42-28 victory Friday night.
The victory locked up a spot in the Class 4A playoffs, which Tuesday, for the Bulldogs.
“It puts us in good position,” junior quarterback Tyler Cawley said. “Now all we have to do is go take care of business next week against Eudora. It's important that we are 2-0 and plus-26. Now we're just playing for seeding in our district.”
The Bulldogs led 42-12 in the fourth quarter before their defense gave up two late scores. Friday night's win sets up a Frontier League matchup against Eudora for the 4A district title. The game will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at Liston Stadium.
“I congratulated our team, because we're in the playoffs, we're sitting 2-0 right now in our districts and we're plus-26 on points,” coach Mike Berg said. “It all comes down to Thursday night. It's what we play for. We have a chance to be district champs.”
Santa Fe Trail scored a touchdown on its second offensive play of the night, after Baldwin took the opening drive 75 yards in 13 plays for the touchdown. Cawley scored on the opening possession of the game for Baldwin. The Chargers' Chaz Wright ran the ball around the end and down field for a 70-yard touchdown.
BHS answered with four touchdowns on its next five possessions. Three of those scores were on the ground, while the last one was a four-yard touchdown pass. Tyler Cawley led BHS with a pair of rushing scores and a passing touchdown.
Immediately following the Chargers' touchdown, Baldwin drove the ball 68 yards in five plays. Sophomore Chad Berg turned a fourth down play into a 43-yard touchdown run, putting Baldwin up 14-6.
“We did a lot of good things with the pistol set,” Cawley said. “We wanted to fix a lot of the things we were doing wrong and I think we did that tonight.”
After a three-and-out by Santa Fe Trail, Baldwin again drove the field for a score. Sophomore Cornell Brown got in the action with a 6-yard run into the end zone. On the Bulldogs' final offensive play before halftime, Cawley dove over the pile for a touchdown. He gave BHS a 28-6 lead at the break.
Baldwin added a pair of touchdowns on its first two possessions of the second half. Cawley threw a pass to senior Clayton Duncan for the first score and junior Mark Harman ran the second one into the end zone.
The Bulldogs played without junior Dayton Valentine on Friday. Despite missing the key junior, Cawley was proud of his teammates' effort to fill the gap.
“We have a pretty balanced offense,” Cawley said. “Even without Dayton, we have other playmakers. We have receivers that will catch the ball and lots of guys to run the ball.”
The Chargers scored a pair of touchdowns inside the final eight minutes of the game to close the gap. Baldwin marched the ball deep into the Chargers' territory before fumbling the snap and losing possession. BHS ran the final 30 seconds out after recovering an onside kick.
Baldwin will play Eudora tonight for the district title. The winner will play at home Tuesday, while the loser will play on the road. Kick off is 7 p.m. at Baker University's Liston Stadium.
“It's always a big game,” Berg said. “Eudora has been playing well all year. We've been up and down with injuries. Hopefully, we can get healthy and give them all we have. That's all we can ask.”
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