WARNER ROBINS — What had been a sluggish Baldwin Braves offense so far this season showed signs of life against Veterans High School Friday, but it was not productive enough to win on the road.
The Braves lost their third straight ballgame to open the 2019 season, this time in a 33-23 decision versus the host Warhawks. Veterans advanced to 3-0 with the win while Baldwin sits at a mirrored 0-3, the same record the team carried at this same point a season ago.
First-half mistakes committed by BHS allowed Veterans to jump out to a big lead. Baldwin fumbled away its first offensive possession, which led to score, and had a punt blocked with three minutes left in the half. The Braves’ special teams miscue put the Warhawks up 26-3 as that block was returned for a touchdown. Not long after though, the visiting offense was able to produce. Sophomore quarterback Gerald Kilgore hit part-time receiver/full-time athlete Javon Bullard for a huge touchdown that lifted BHS to double digits for the first time this season. Kilgore would add a long touchdown run later that brought his team to within 10.
“Gerald had a great game,” Baldwin head coach Jesse Hicks said. “He spread the ball around pretty good and threw the ball well. We couldn’t run the ball like I wanted, but we threw it well.”
Hicks liked the effort he got from his team this week and is seeing strides being made. Sophomore Ashton Hagans gave the team a long punt return, and the defense showed some improvement from previous weeks. Still the Braves find themselves in the same place they were a year ago. While last season was special, Hicks says he doesn’t want to see his team start the regular season 0-5 and finish it 5-0 again.
“I want to win the region, but not at the expense of going 0-5,” he said emphatically.
The route to and from Warner Robins is one the Baldwin High School football team is about to become real accustomed with. The Braves will return to the International City next week for a meeting against Warner Robins and will be back again the following week to face Northside-Warner Robins. Those two programs are respectively the Class 5A and 6A state runners-up from last year.