Baldwin High School football head coach Dexter Copeland said errors in scoring positions were too much to overcome in a 28-14 Jefferson County home loss last week. The overall numbers weren't bad against Jefferson.
“We played good in spots. We have a young football team that's going to make some mistakes,” Copeland said. “Offensively, how many times do you have 500 yards of offense and not win a football game?”
BHS turned the ball over three times inside the red zone.
“All four times we turned the football over it was on their side of the field. That will hurt you,” Copeland said. “You can't do that playing a good team.”
Baldwin's defense didn't sync up until the second half last week. After some misalignments and missed tackles, the Braves tightened up the final half allowing just one touchdown on special teams.
“Defense made some adjustments. We challenged them at half time to stop (Jefferson). The defense did what they were supposed to do and nearly pitched a shutout,” Baldwin's coach said.
Ball security is the No. 1 focus leading into Friday's major Peach County matchup. Holding the ball in traffic with two hands is a fundamental the Braves must adhere to.
BHS's offensive line needs consistency also. The group took some plays off in the season opener, according to Copeland.
A few Braves played both ways because of injuries.
The Braves youngsters have to play like vets this fall.
At one point last Friday, Baldwin had seven sophomores or freshmen getting offensive game reps.
Leading the Braves on offense was junior running back Kentavious Thomas with 128 yards rushing and two touchdowns; though, Chambers also had an impressive showing with 127 yards on the ground and passing for 141 yards.
Chambers connected with junior BHS receiver Brandon Goodman eight times for 92 yards and Jerrel Simmons on six occasions for 31 yards.
Copeland wants more vocal leadership from Chambers as the season rolls on. Chambers is the big play catalyst Baldwin leans on.
“We also expressed to (Chambers) about making big plays when we need them,” Copeland said.
As the Braves quarterback grows, the coaching staff expects his defensive reads to speed up. BHS likes a fast paced offense, so pressure sits on Chambers shoulders to maintain that speed.
Baldwin hosts 2-AAA power Peach County Friday. The 4th ranked Trojans defeated Perry 35-17 in their home opening contest.
Quarterback Greg Williams returns for his senior season. Williams completed 9-of-12 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for another score over Perry.
Peach holds a four game winning streak over the Braves.
Copeland said his team couldn't afford a slow start this week. Last year, Baldwin's turnovers sent them spiraling down 14-0 after one quarter.
“We've always given Peach County a lot of chances. That's one thing we preached on. Let's see if they can beat us on their own,” Copeland said Wednesday.
This non-region game doesn't really alter any playoff futures, though Baldwin needs a good showing for league confidence.
“It's a game to help our young kids grow,” Baldwin's head coach said.
BHS is banged up a bit already. With the left tackle out, center Garrison Hogan switched over to that spot leaving the backup guard at center.
Copeland called it a “patch work offense.”
Baldwin still had two 100-yard rushes despite the challenges Week 1.
The Peach game kicks-off at 7:30 p.m. Friday.