The Washington County Golden Hawks' size and physicality overmatched the Baldwin Braves football team at the appropriately named House of Pain.
The Hawks dealt a 56-7 blow to Baldwin High School.
“We had some bad things happen early that just kind of snowballed a little bit,” Baldwin head football coach Dexter Copeland said. “We made mistakes, but you have to remember sometimes we are still a young football team.”
After showing up big against Peach County, the Braves seemed ready for the major environment.
The Sandersville trip turned when negative emotions affected the Baldwin visitors.
“We had players try to do too much. When they try to do too much, they do too little,” Copeland said. “It was a learning experience all the way around.”
At 1-2 overall, BHS players start fresh with the region opener against the Howard Huskies Friday.
“Those first three games were good testers, but they don't mean anything. Region play is the most important,” Copeland said. “We told them Monday 'Hey you won a big game the week before and you couldn't get it our of your mind and it caught up to you.' The real season starts this week.”
Under new coach Barney Hester, Howard stands 2-1 this fall.
Hester brings plenty of state championships from a long stint at Tattnall Square. Copeland said the coach changed the culture at the Macon school.
“He's put together a good nucleus. They are two or three plays away from being undefeated. It's not the Howard of old,” the Braves' coach said.
Baldwin must take care of business at home.
Howard fullback JaQuan Stinson, who carried the ball 17 times for 116 yards last week against Walnut Grove, must be contained.
The Huskies use Stinson and quarterback Torey Bundrage in a triple-option system. Controlling the fullback is a big part of Friday's matchup.
Copeland said this week's theme of assignment football seems simple enough.
“If everybody beats their man, we will win the football game,” he said.
Baldwin continues the identity search on offense.
Junior quarterback Tajhea Chambers and running back Kentavious Thomas are the skilled leaders and holders of the Braves' hopes each week.
Copeland wants a balanced attack on both sides of the ball.
“We aren't looking for a go to player,” he said. “We want everybody playing well and doing what they are supposed to do.”
Baldwin hosts Howard with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff in Baldwin County Friday.