RECAP/STATS: Baldwin Saddles Mustangs with 35-7 Defeat
Here's a roundup from Friday night's game.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Baldwin-Whitehall Patch.
Around 'em, over 'em, past 'em, through 'em.
One way or another, Baldwin High School's Dorian Brown was not to be tackled easily on Friday night. In fact, on three occasions—four if you count a play negated by a penalty—none of the 11 Plum High School Mustangs on the field at Baldwin High Stadium could stop the brutish senior running back from reaching the end zone.
Plum (0-2, 0-2) also couldn't stop the host Highlanders from improving to 1-1 overall on Friday and 1-1 in the new WPIAL AAAA football Southeastern Conference by way of a dominating 35-7 win.
Baldwin outgained Plum by exactly 400 yards, and Brown picked up 234 of them on 16 rushes, including his touchdown runs of 64, 54 and 25 yards, respectively.
"He was as advertised," Plum's Head Coach Frank Sacco said. "We knew we had to contain him, and obviously, we had a hard time containing him. He was just amazing tonight."
Not to be outdone, junior running back Stephon Harris ran for scores of 52 and 46 yards, respectively, as part of an eight-carry, 131-yard night that give the Highlanders a 1-2 punch that was too much for the Mustangs to handle.
"Everybody's going to try to take this kid away," Baldwin's Head Coach Jim Wehner said while motioning toward Brown, "so we figured, in order to be good, we gotta get somebody else that can run the ball.
"But he (motioning to Brown again) ran it pretty damn hard tonight. We blocked like we were supposed to, and I think that might have been his best game as a high school player tonight. That's why we won tonight."
The hits came early and often for Plum, as Harris' 52-yard score occurred on Baldwin's first offensive play of the game.
The Highlanders' junior placekicker Yahya Badjie then made good on an extra-point try before booting the ball into the Plum end zone for the first of his two career touchbacks. Badjie went 4-for-4 on point-afters against Plum a week after missing two at Peters Township High School. (Senior kicker Alan Breisinger booted Baldwin's fifth extra point.)
Plum's points came as the result of a blocked punt on the first play of the second quarter when senior running back Jake Digulio came through the Baldwin line to get his hands on a Luke Smorey kick.
The ball ended up at Baldwin's 2-yard line, and a few plays later, senior quarterback Corey DeLoach found senior wide receiver Tevin Odom in the end zone for an 11-yard TD and a PAT from senior kicker Dylan Kondis.
But the tied score was short-lived, as two plays later, Brown went through at least six would-be tacklers during a highlight-reel 64-yard TD sprint.
"My youth football coach came (to the game) today," Brown said, "and he told me never to go down on the first hit or second hit. And I just ran with anger.
"He was on the sideline. It got me pumped, too—me seeing him—'cause I haven't seen him in a long time."
The score remained 14-7 at halftime. Badjie attempted a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, but his line-drive kick fell short.
The worst thing that the Mustangs could have done to start the second half was give the ball back to the Baldwin offense ... but they had to. And following the second-half kickoff, Brown rushed for a 54-yard score on the first play from scrimmage.
The ball was given back to the Mustangs, but Plum never advanced past the Baldwin 49 at any point during the second half.
Harris' 46-yard third-quarter TD and Brown's 25-yarder in the fourth helped to spell the 35-7 final.
Both starting quarterbacks threw 11 passes. Baldwin's sophomore Doug Altavilla completed five of them for 51 yards, while DeLoach completed four for 34 yards. DeLoach also threw an interception to senior defensive back/wide receiver D'Andre Andrews before he was replaced by sophomore quarterback Will Fuher, who went 0-for-3.
"That was just a matter of getting the other kid (Fuher) in," Sacco said. "We went to our second team I think a little bit before they did just to give some of our other kids some experience to get in there."
DeLoach's favorite target was Odom, who caught three passes for 21 yards. Andrews caught two passes for 27 yards, and his teammate and fellow senior defensive back/wide receiver Gary Jackson caught two for 14 yards.
Plum's top rusher was sophomore running back Joe DeFelice, who carried the ball seven times for 19 yards.
Andrews made one tackle for a loss of five yards to go with his interception, and Jackson made two solo stops and broke up a pass. But Baldwin's top tackler was junior defensive back Jay Morrison, who made a game-high seven tackles, including four solo stops that each sounded as hard as they must have felt.
"That's a big-time player," Wehner said of Morrison. "He came through the lane (once) from 14 yards deep for a one-yard gain. When Jay does that kind of thing, we're pretty good on defense, too."
One of Morrison's tackles went for a loss of two yards, but it was teammate and sophomore linebacker Donald West who led all players with two tackles for a loss (totaling eight yards). West finished with five total tackles (all solo).
Plum's sophomore utilityman Nate Turchick made six tackles (all solo), including one for a loss of four yards.
Senior wide receiver/defensive back Jay Major also made six stops (three solo) for the Mustangs, forced a fumble and broke up a pass. In addition to his blocked punt, Digulio made four tackles (two solo) and registered a half-sack. Senior teammate and wide receiver/defensive back Nick DeLuca had a tackle, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.
Baldwin had 494 yards of total offense and averaged 10.5 yards per play, compared to a 1.9-yard average for Plum.
Things won't get any easier for the Mustangs next week, as they travel to perennial power Mt. Lebanon High School (1-1, 1-0) on Friday, Sept. 14, for another Southeastern Conference game at 7:30 p.m.
"This conference, week in and week out, it's going to be tough if not tougher every week," Sacco said. "It is what it is, and we gotta just keep plugging and keep our heads up and keep trying."
"How can you not be motivated for that?" Wehner asked while pointing out that Penn Hills will be coming off of a 14-0 conference loss to Peters Township on Friday.
"We win Thursday night," Wehner said, "(and) we're right back in the thick of it."
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