The only real winners in spring football are the programs that spend productive hours out on the field while keeping their players healthy.
By those measures, the Baldwin High School Braves won their spring as they wrapped up their two weeks of practice with an intrasquad scrimmage held Friday. The spring game concluded with no injuries, and had some members of the BHS coaching staff saying it was the team’s most productive spring in Hicks’ five years back at the helm.
Hicks and his staff substituted heavily in order to get looks at some of their less-experienced athletes Friday, but the starters still produced their fair share of fireworks in their limited action. Rising senior quarterback Derrick Lewis dropped a short pass off to Jeramiyah Scott, the small running back with big play ability, whose run after catch set the offense up close to the goal line. From there Lewis looked to rising junior wideout Shatavious Hogan who scored on a slant. The Lewis-Hogan connection came through again two drives later to produce a 70-yard touchdown.
“I’m not going to sit here and say nobody can, but it’s tough to deal with him,” Hicks replied when asked if anyone can cover Hogan. “People don’t realize how fast he is, but the way he tracks a ball and goes up to get it with his athletic ability makes it tough for anybody. He’s a matchup problem. If anybody can guard him, I’d like to meet them.”
The defense got strong play up front from Nasir Robinson and Tyrecus Harrison, who at times made life tough for their O-line counterparts.
“I think we got exactly what we needed out of them this spring,” the head coach said of his whole team. “We’re bringing just about everybody back on both sides of the ball — seven or eight guys on each side — so we wanted to see more cohesiveness out of them. When you play younger guys, sooner or later they start to jell, especially up front.”
Baldwin finished the COVID-shortened 2020 season 5-2 and was knocked out in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs at Carver-Columbus. Only 10 seniors graduated from that talented team, so there’s still plenty in the barn for the Braves to make hay in ’21.
The team will try to keep its spring momentum rolling into summer workouts, which are set to begin June 7. The team will also, though, soon say goodbye to something that has been part of the program dating back to Hicks’ first coaching tenure here. The natural grass field inside Braves Stadium will be torn up following BHS graduation this weekend in favor of an artificial surface that will be installed in time for the 2021 campaign. Coach Hicks is ready for the new turf, but also has many fond memories of Fridays spent on the existing field.
“I think I’m going to go out there and cut me a piece of that grass,” he said. “We’ve had some great wins and moments out there, now we’ve got to go out and create some new ones.”
The Braves’ 2021 season kicks off Aug. 20 versus Liberty County.