Baldwin bulls way to another narrow victory
PIPER—Baldwin forced an incomplete pass on a 2-point conversion play with 4:10 to play Friday and then ran out the clock to pick up the Bulldogs’ second narrow victory of the young season.
Piper scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in less than a minute after it looked as if the Bulldogs were home free. The Piper rally was aided by a leading-with-the-helmet 15-yard penalty, which set the Pirates up first and goal on the Bulldog 6 yard line. The flag came a good 20 seconds after officials blew the play dead.
Piper scored three plays later when senior quarterback Keelon Vann found tight end Collin Bebbe free in the end zone. Vann then found the end zone scrabbling around the right side, pulling Piper within a touchdown at 27-20 with 4:48 to play.
Having watched the Bulldogs seniors running backs Jake and Joel Katzer lead a Bulldog running game that overmatched Piper all night, Pirate coach Chris Brindle opted for an onside kick. The gamble paid off, sitting Piper up at midfield despite the protest of Bulldog coach Mike Berg, who thought Piper players had touched the ball and thrown blocks before the ball went the required 10 yard.
Vann again marched the Pirates downfield, gaining another 15 yards at the end of a 12-yard pass play with a roughing the passer call. The call again gave the Pirates a first and goal at the 6 yard line. This time, Vann found receiver J.J. Letcher free in the end zone, pulling the Pirates within one at 27-26 with 4:10 to play. Baldwin got pressure on Vann on the 2-point conversion attempt as he rolled out to the left, forcing an errant pass into the end zone.
Piper then attempted another onside kick, but this time the Bulldogs recovered at the Piper 47-yard line with 3:53 to play. The Bulldogs’ ground control offense then showed why the Pirate coach wanted to keep ball away from Baldwin. The Bulldogs ground out a pair of first downs, advancing the ball to the 30 yard line, before running out the final minute in victory formation.
Piper proved unable to stop the Bulldogs ground game all night. Baldwin scored on drives of 75, 72, 59 and 67 yards without completing a pass. Joel Katzer gave the Bulldogs big plays in the drives, setting up the Bulldogs’ second-quarter touchdown with a 69-yard run and breaking off third-quarter touchdowns of 60 and 48 yards. Jake Katzer finished off two drives with 1-yard touchdown runs.
Meanwhile, the Bulldog defense made Piper equally one-dimensional. After earning a first and goal from the 4 yard line with 6 minutes to play in the second quarter, the Pirates turned to ball over on downs after three consecutive running plays failed to gain the end zone.
Baldwin 27, Piper 26
Baldwin (2-0) 0 7 13 7 - 27
Piper (0-2) 6 0 7 12 - 26
Baldwin scoring: Jake Katzer, 1 yard run (Blake Adamson kick); Joel Katzer 60-yard run (kick failed); Joel Katzer 48 yard run (Adamson kick); Jake Katzer, 1 yard run (Adamson kick).
Piper: Vann 33 yard pass to J.J. Letcher; Vann 31 yard pass to Collin Beebe (2-point conversion failed); Vann 5 yard pass to Beebe (Vann 2 point conversion); Vann 6 yard pass to Letcher (2-point conversion failed)