The Baldwin High School football team kicked its season off with an impressive home win over region foe Westside High School of Macon Friday.
On their Senior Night, the Braves got big contributions from several players on both sides of the ball, including University of Georgia commit Javon Bullard who led a dominant first half effort from Baldwin’s talented secondary.
Head coach Jesse Hicks seemed thrilled with his team’s 35-28 victory.
“We know we have about three or four guys that can really run the football,” Hicks told The Union-Recorder after Friday’s win. “What I’m really happy about is the way we spread the wealth.”
On the home team’s very first offensive snap, Baldwin junior running back Jeramiyah Scott ran for would have been a huge touchdown. However, a flag on the play overruled the score.
Nevertheless, the home team scored just a few plays later. A touchdown pass to Bullard saw the Braves draw first blood. Even with this early touchdown, Bullard made his biggest impact on the defensive end with a plethora of tackles and pass breakups throughout the contest.
The running game was working wonders for the Braves in the first quarter. After being robbed of his earlier touchdown, Scott returned a kick for an incredible 80-yard scoring run to end the opening period.
While the Baldwin offense was clicking, their defense was arguably the X-factor in the first half. Baldwin junior Kentavious Hightower made a massive impact in the game with several tackles and sacks.
“We really feel like we’re pretty set on the back end,” Hicks said. “What I really liked was the way our guys played up front in the first half.”
The front line of the Braves defense was bolstered by Baldwin senior Antonio Reeves and junior Navion Clemons. Thanks to countless tackles from the defensive backs, the home favorites held Westside to just one touchdown in the second half.
In one of the most exciting plays of the game, Hightower intercepted a pass and ran it in for an 18-yard pick six. This play closed out the half for the Braves as they led 21-7.
In the second half, the Baldwin defense slowed down a little. Westside running back Vansean Jackson, who had rushed for 250 yards in his last three games, heated up in the third quarter with several fruitful runs and an eventual fourth quarter touchdown.
While their opponents picked it up offensively, Baldwin continued to score the football as well. Senior Kesean Parks joined in on the fun with a deep catch in the end zone to add to his team’s scoring total midway through the third. This marked Baldwin quarterback Derrick Lewis’ second touchdown pass of the evening.
To end the third period, Scott continued his great night with another touchdown rush.
Baldwin sophomore Shatavious Hogan converted the two-pointer on a slant to give the Braves an insurmountable 35-14 lead. Hogan caught several passes on the night as one of Lewis’ primary receiving targets.
A great overall performance from the home team moves them to 1-0 on the season both overall and in region play. With a limited region-only schedule, every win matters for Baldwin.
The Braves play next Friday on the road against region opponent Rutland High School.