The Union Recorder

September 12, 2013

Braves must regroup after special week

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Beating GHSA state power Peach County 35-21 last week left Baldwin County High School football feeling special.

Baldwin head coach Dexter Copeland said a bad Monday practice returned all heads to solid earth.

“Yes we won, but it doesn’t mean anything about us going to the playoffs. We could win that game and lose them all,” Copeland said. “The same people that are patting you on the back right now are going to be talking about you next week if you don’t win. We had to get everything back into perspective.”

The Braves were sore after a physical game plan last Friday.

Copeland said players came back to life at Tuesday practice and got back working.

Baldwin revealed increased strength that exploited Peach County. Copeland wants his guys doing all the punching this fall.

“We are a strong football team. That’s from our weight program this summer. We worked them hard,” the BHS coach said. “Weight training hasn’t stopped.”

Continued conditioning has the Braves running a high-tempo offense. Another level Copeland calls “warp-speed” remains attainable.

Junior running back Kentavious Thomas entered beast mode in the Peach game.

“Pop” rushed for 252 yards off 29 carries scoring three touchdowns against talented Peach County.

Copeland said Thomas is a special back that BHS needs to feed the ball consistently.

“(Thomas) had a great game, broke some tackles and had some tremendous runs. He came back from the two turnovers Week 1. We need those types of games from him every week for us to be competitive,” Copeland said. “One thing I can say about that guy is he wants the football.”

Baldwin’s offensive line handled the job against Peach allowing Thomas major output and quarterback Tajhea Chambers to rush for 92 yards and two touchdowns of his own.

The O-line’s seven-man rotation is still a work in progress.

“We are still day-to-day. We are moving people around,” the Baldwin coach said. “That’s one of our goals to get that situated. They are getting it down, but we are still having some big breakdowns.”

BHS sustained the lead late in the game last Friday when some kickoff team coverage errors allowed big Peach County returns.

“We had some fundamental break downs. Guys freelanced out of their lanes a little bit and hurt us,” Copeland said.

Some position shuffling should solve the issue against 2-0 Washington County Friday.

Golden Hawk running back Melvin Hill and quarterback A.J. Gray are explosive challenges.

Defensively, the Braves will mix and match secondary coverages to confuse the first year starting quarterback.

Slowing Hill’s gains down will temper a good Golden Hawk group sure to be hungry at Sandersville’s House of Pain.

“He’s an elusive running back. We have to grab on and hold on,” Copeland said.

BHS isn’t known as a hard-hitting football team though they looked that way last week.

“I think we surprise people by lining up and being smash mouth,” Copeland said. “That’s what we worked on all summer.”

Keeping that mentality is essential against Washington County.

Baldwin travels to the House of Pain Friday for a 7:30 p.m. start.