The 2019 season is shaping up to be a bit like 2018 for the Baldwin High School football team.
The Braves (0-2) have lost their first two games by a combined 69-7. Last season against the same two opponents, Baldwin was also 0-2 and the overall tally was 60-24. Head coach Jesse Hicks and his staff will try to right the ship this week when BHS travels to take on the Veterans High School Warhawks of Kathleen, which is near Warner Robins. The Braves are 4-3 against Veterans all-time in a series that dates back to only 2010.
VHS (2-0) took last season’s meeting with the Braves 38-30 in Milledgeville. The home team had multiple opportunities to win the ballgame, but penalties got in the way throughout the night. Veterans finished last season at 8-3 after a third-place finish in Region 1-5A, the same region as Warner Robins, and was knocked out in the first round of the state playoffs by Stockbridge.
The yet-to-be-beaten 2019 Warhawks defeated an Upson-Lee team that lost a ton of talent from a year ago 48-13 to open this season. They followed that up with a 28-10 win at Class AA opponent Bleckley County last week.
A very difficult stretch lies ahead for Baldwin. Following last week’s 27-0 loss to neighboring Jones County, the Braves will not be back on their home field for more than a month. This week’s game against the Veterans Warhawks marks the first of what will be three straight trips to the Warner Robins area as matchups against powerhouses Warner Robins High School and Northside of Warner Robins loom in the coming weeks. The meeting with Veterans also marks the second in what will be five consecutive contests against higher-classification opponents. Coach Hicks’ strategy in creating this schedule was to better prepare his team for playoff football, and it’s one that paid off to a degree in 2018. The Braves famously won their last five regular season games after dropping their first five and advanced to the state quarterfinals where they fell to eventual Class 4A runner-up Cartersville. Since high school schedules operate on two-year cycles Baldwin football is saddled with that difficult slate yet again. Whether it pays off or not remains to be seen as there are still eight games left in the regular season counting this week’s bout.
The Braves and Warhawks will meet at Veterans 7:30 p.m. Friday.