Baldwin downs Wellsville, 33-6
The Baldwin Bulldogs used a big second quarter and a versatile Cornell Brown to defeat visiting Wellsville, 33-6, in the season-opening football game Friday for both teams.
Brown had a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, hauled in a pass for another score, set up Baldwin’s last touchdown with a 62-yard run and intercepted a pass in the game that marked the renewal of a rivalry that ended five years ago when Wellsville left the Frontier League.
Baldwin got off to a quick 7-0 start when senior Mark Harmon scored from three yards out with 6:18 to play in the first quarter. The Bulldogs stayed on the ground on the short drive, set up when the Bulldogs forced the Eagles to punt from within its own 10-yard line on its first drive.
Baldwin found the end zone next with 8:44 to play in the second quarter, again on a Harmon 3-yard run. Big pass plays from quarterback Tyler Cawley to Brown and tight end Dayton Valentine set up the touchdown.
Coach Mike Berg said the contrast of the grind-it-out first drive and the big-play passing game of the second scoring drive was something Bulldog fans should expect this year.
“We’ve got some kids who can execute in the running game and the passing game,” he said. “We practice the passing game. If we practice it, I want to run it in ballgames.”
The Bulldog defense kept up its pressure on the Eagles, forcing a punt on the visitor’s next drive. Brown fielded the ball on the Baldwin 30-yard line, found a crease and burned by Eagle defenders to score, increasing the Bulldog lead to 19-0 with 4:14 to play in the second quarter.
On its next possession, Wellsville mounted its biggest threat of the half, moving the ball onto the Baldwin side of the field when an Eagle receiver hauled in a tipped pass for a long gain. Brown put an end to the drive with an interception on a fourth-down pass on the Baldwin 9-yard-line with 1:31 to play in the half.
That was plenty of time for quarterback Cawley and Brown, who hooked up on three-straight passes, which moved the ball more than 70 yards for the score, giving the Bulldogs a 26-0 advantage at the half.
Brown set up the Bulldogs’ last touchdown with a 62-yard run on Baldwin’s first possession of the second half. On the next snap, Cawley called his own numbers, scoring on from 9 yards out and giving the Bulldogs a 33-0 lead with 10:38 to play in the third quarter.
His big night and the team’s success were the result of a solid week of preparation, Brown said.
“We had good focus all week,” he said. “I thought the rain might bother us, but we played awesome.”
The game was played in a steady rain as what was left of Hurricane Isaac soaked Liston Stadium. Baldwin coach Mike Berg said he thought his team executed well in weather it hadn’t had a chance to practice in during the drought.
Play did get a bit sloppy in the third quarter as Berg took out some of his starters. Baldwin’s drives stalled with multiple penalties and miscues.
Wellsville got its lone score when Brett Osbern got into the end zone from a yard out with 5:15 remaining in the game. A Baldwin fumble just inside the Bulldog 20-yard line set up the touchdown.
With a victory against 3A Wellsville to build its confidence, Baldwin will now go on the road to face Paola.
“They’re traditionally very strong. They usually make the playoffs and go deep in the 4A playoffs,” Berg said. “We have to regroup and be ready to play.”