The Union Recorder

September 26, 2013

Braves leaning on strong juniors

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Thrashing Howard 41-7 in the region opener gives the Baldwin High School football team confidence.

Baldwin head football coach Dexter Copeland seemed pleased after early miscues. The Braves turned on the jets erasing missed tackles and assignments during the Howard second half.

“(Howard) did some stuff differently than they had shown us on film, so we had to make adjustments. We pretty much settled down the second half,” Copeland said.

Junior linebacker Quandarious Holsey recorded seven solo tackles and five assisted in addition to causing two fumbles last week.

“(Holsey) is one of the guys good enough to make adjustments on his own. We don't have to tell him what to do,” Copeland said. “He made some tremendous plays for us. He is a small guy playing out of position, but he has a lot of heart.”

Juniors like Tony Horton, Shelton Graves and Quavez Hill compliment seniors Quentin Barfield, Jamar Johnson and Lamarcus Tuft on defense. The Braves have quality depth at linebacker and defensive back.

Also, junior D-linemen led by Tayron Greene smashed up the line of scrimmage against Howard.

The Braves’ offense gained steam in the region opener victory also. Junior wide receivers Jerrel Simmons and Brandon Goodman made big plays.

A 37-yard touchdown reception on a fourth-and-long near the end of the first half saved what looked like a fruitless drive. Junior quarterback Tajhea Chambers hit Goodman on a slant and go.

“It’s hard to cover Goodman in the slot, and he ended up having a linebacker on top of him on fourth down,” Copeland said. “We came out and Goodman actually recognized he had man coverage and instead of running the slant went with the go route and ran right by the guy.”

Baldwin’s offensive line protected Chambers last Friday. He went 10-for-19 for 252 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 93 yards.

“If the offensive line has a good game, Tajhea will too,” the Baldwin coach said. “He’s the type of quarterback that with enough time is going to make the right reads and throws.”

Baldwin’s junior class shined over Howard.

Copeland said the group didn’t lose a football game in middle school or junior varsity.

“You have tremendous wide receivers, offensive linemen, defensive backs, quarterback and running back,” he said. “We have a young football team that will have some ups and downs, but those guys are getting better and gaining a lot of experience. We’ll be happy to have those guys back next year.”

Baldwin faces the Perry Panthers for region stop No. 2. The Braves held Perry under 100 yards of total offense last season.

Though Perry is winless so far, Copeland isn’t sure what to make of the Panthers on their home turf.

BHS can look for a wide-open passing attack with four different quarterbacks. With a new coach, Perry continues searching for itself on both sides of the ball.

“It’s kind of hard to get an idea of what they are doing,” Copeland said. “Right now, we are hoping we don’t get too surprised early on.”

Perry played talented Peach County, Alcovy and Mary Persons already this fall remaining competitive each outing.

Copeland said they are a few turnovers and penalties away from being undefeated and doesn’t consider them a “bad football team.”

“It’s an adjustment period for (Perry) right now. We hope they are still adjusting when we play them,” Copeland joked.