The Union Recorder

November 8, 2013

Baldwin Braves hold slim playoff hope

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — A West Laurens loss didn’t totally bury Baldwin High School’s playoff aspirations.

Braves’ football must defeat GHSA Region 2-AAAA champion Veterans on the road tonight and get some help.

Baldwin head football coach Dexter Copeland said there is a chance.

In the final week, Westside must beat Rutland and Perry has to win for a three-way tie scenario. Mini games on Monday would determine which team advances to the first round.

Last week, Baldwin started fast after Quavez Hill returned a fumbled punt to the 4-yard line. Braves quarterback Tajhea Chambers rushed in for the early lead.

Kentavious Thomas added one of two touchdowns after for a 13-6 advantage.

Another Raider fumble recovered by Quentin Barfield at the end of the first quarter allowed Chambers to score once again.

West Laurens tacked on two more touchdowns. The Raiders held an eight-point lead at half.

Chambers’ third rush and following 2-point conversion got Baldwin within three late, but the Braves couldn’t get over the final hump.

“The second half we just came out flat. We dropped three or four passes early on in the second half. Two would have been touchdowns,” Copeland said. “After that the momentum just went down. West Laurens seized the opportunity. They took the lead and held on to win.”

The final regular season challenge will be a test.

Copeland said Veterans has “a hard-nosed defense.”

“It’s probably the best defense we’ve played since Washington County,” he said.

Offensively, expect the Warhawks to keep it on the ground.

“They’ll mix in the pass here and there, but their biggest thing is playing defense and holding you down,” Copeland said.

The Braves might play the same game with strong backs like Kentavious Thomas and Atavious Brown.

“We’ll try to control the clock a little more,” the Braves’ coach said. “Teams have tried to make big plays on (Veterans) and that kind of plays into their favor. You’ve got to slow the game down and play at their tempo.”

The Braves season featured some incredible highs and tremendous lows. That can all be erased with a win and a little region magic Friday.

“We’ve had an up and down season all year long. We want to go out on a good note,” Copeland said. “If you win this game here and make the playoffs, everybody will forget what happened in the regular season because the playoffs start a brand new season. The kids are ready.”