Late safety dooms Bulldogs at Spring Hill
Spring Hill — Spring Hill wrapped up its first victory of the season when the Broncos tackled Baldwin quarterback Garrett Burkhart in the end zone with 2:12 to play.
Together with its successful recovery of the ensuing onside kick, the safety gave Spring Hill a 23-18 victory in the hard-fought Frontier League game. Baldwin got the stop it needed two-plays before the safety when the Bulldog defense forced a Spring Hill punt at midfield. Spring Hill, however, got a great punt that pinned the Bulldogs on their own 6-yard line. The Bronco defense captured Burkhart in the end zone one play later.
Baldwin coach Mike Berg conceded the Bulldogs were not in a good position before the safety.
“We’re not a come-from-behind team,” he said. “We do have a speed guy who can get to the edge and go, so we have to play from in front.”
Before the safety, the two teams traded touchdowns with Spring Hill having the upper hand in extra points. Baldwin took its only lead of the night at 18-14 when senior Jake Katzer capped a nine-play drive with a 2-yards touchdown run at the 3:15 mark in the third quarter. Burkhart’s recovery of a Bronco fumble set up Baldwin to start the drive at the Spring Hill 45-yard line.
Spring Hill quickly regained the momentum with a kick return to its own 43-yard line. Bronco senior Roiel Swift would add a 28-yard touchdown run seven plays later as Spring Hill regained the lead, 21-18, will 11:24 left in the contest. Swift broke a couple of tackles on the run, which was an area in which Berg said his had to improve.
“We can’t miss tackles in the open field,” he said. “People are doing a good job of spreading out and making us make tackles, so that’s something we have to improve.
“I’m not upset with our effort or how hard we’re playing. We’re just making mistakes, but they are things that are fixable.
Pass defense has also been a concern for the Bulldogs this season, and the Broncos scored the first touchdown of the night when quarterback William Lovetinsky found junior Tyshaun Straw open for a touchdown. Spring Hill’s second first-half touchdown was aided by two pass interference calls on the Bulldogs, the first of which came of a third-and18 play from the Bronco 28-yard line.
Baldwin score its first touchdown on 51-yard Joel Katzer touchdown, which answered Spring Hill’s early score. The team’s second touchdown was evidence of the work the Bulldogs have been doing in practice to improve the passing game. Burkhart connected on passes of 20 yard to Jake Katzer and 17 yards to junior Justin Howard before hooking up with senior Nick Pattrick on a 30-yard touchdown.
“Teams are stuffing the box, so we have to get better at passing,” Berg said. “And we are getting better at passing. We’re going to continue to work on it.”
Baldwin will next play Louisburg, who will come into Liston Stadium with a 4-0 record. The game will be a challenge but a huge opportunity for the Bulldogs, Berg said.
Spring Hill 23, Baldwin 18
Spring Hill (1-3) 7 7 0 9 - 23
Baldwin (2-2) 6 6 6 0 - 18
Spring Hill: William Lovetinsky pass to Tyshaun Straw (Carver
Gerstberger kick); Straw 2-yard run (Gerstberger kick good); Roiel With 28-yard run Gerstberger kick good)
Baldwin: Joel Katzer 51-yard run (kick failed); Garrett Burkhart 30-yard pass to Nick Pattrick (2-pt failed); Jake Katzer 2-yard run (2-pt failed)