Baldwyn continued its winning streak with a first round playoff win over the West Tallahatchie Choctaws this past Friday night by the score of 44-22.
The Bearcats used a strong second and third quarter to put the game away and move on to the second round of the state playoffs, where they will travel to play the Bruce Trojans this Friday night. Baldwyn (9-3) showed a great defensive effort on the night, forcing 5 punts and 4 turnovers from the West Tallahatchie offense. The Bearcats, who lost in the first round of last year’s state playoffs, proved to be a team who would not see that repeated this year.
“I thought our kids played really well and was determined to get past the first round,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said.
The Choctaws won the coin toss and took the opening kickoff but failed to move the chains and punted after a three and out series. Baldwyn wasted no time in getting on the board with a Corbin Scott to Devonta Gates seven-yard scoring toss. Zachary Winstead added the PAT putting the Bearcats ahead 7-0. On the Choctaws next drive it seemed the Bearcats had forced another punt but the Choctaws decided to go for the first down on a fourth down and 3 at the Baldwyn 46 yard line. On the play, West Tallahatchie’s quarterback kept the ball and ran around the Bearcat defense for a 46-yard touchdown run. The following two-point conversion attempt failed, leaving the score 7-6. The turnover bug struck the Bearcats on its next drive when Scott fumbled the ball on a fourth down attempt and gave possession to the Choctaws at midfield.
Opening up the second quarter, the Choctaws tried another fourth down attempt but this time the Bearcat defense would be ready and stop the runner one yard short of the marker at the 44 yard line. The Bearcat momentum was quickly lost when another Scott fumble gave the ball right back to West Tallahatchie at the 48 yard line. The Choctaws hoped to capitalize on the turnover but Baldwyn’s Nathan Watson stepped in front of a West Tallahatchie pass at the 41 yard line and raced down the sideline 59 yards for a Bearcat touchdown. Winstead added the PAT putting Baldwyn ahead 14-6.
On the next Choctaw possession, the snap sailed over the head of the punter and he was quickly brought down in the end zone by Anthony Beene and a host of Bearcat defenders. After the safety the score stood 16-6. Baldwyn added to its point total on the next possession when Scott hit Martel Brown in the corner of the end zone for a 17-yard scoring strike with 5:57 left in the quarter. Another Winstead PAT left the score at 23-6. On Baldwyn’s next possession the Bearcats immediately drove into scoring position but fumbled the ball on the handoff exchange and the Choctaws fell on the loose ball and took it over at the 21 yard line with 3:06 left till halftime. The Bearcats forced a Choctaw punt and hoped to add to their halftime lead but a Scott pass was picked off with :44 left to play leaving the halftime score 23-6.
Baldwyn received the second half kickoff and used the possession to grow their lead when Scott passed to Clayton Gray for a 13 yard touchdown to pen the half. Winstead added the PAT putting the Bearcats up 30-6. The Choctaws saw their first drive fall into Bearcats hands by way of Jordan Mcgaughy picking off the West Tallahatchie pass and returning it to the 17 yard line.
On the first play, Duke Upshaw ran around the right end for a 17 yard score and after the Winstead PAT, Baldwyn held the lead 37-6. After another Bearcat defensive stand, Baldwyn took over near midfield and put together a 40 yard scoring drive that was capped off with a 2 yard run by Laquintez Upshaw. Winstead added the kick giving Baldwyn a 44-6 advantage at the end of the third.
Baldwyn used the fourth quarter to give its starters some rest and turned the game over to the younger players for some much needed experience.
West Tallahatchie, who kept all its starters in for the remaining quarter, added 2 scores on a 47-yard run and a last second pass and catch to leave the final score 44-22.
The Bearcat rushing attack, which dominated the game, was led by Duke Upshaw who had 128 yards on 9 carries and one touchdown. Laquintez Upshaw also added 51 yards on nine carries and one touchdown. Corbin Scott was 6-for-8 passing with 75 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The three Bearcat receivers who caught the Scott touchdowns were Clayton Gray (one catch for 13 yards), Devonta Gates (two catches for two yards) and Martel Brown (three catches for 60 yards).
On the defensive side of the ball, Marbrecio Crump led the way with 12 tackles (six solo, two assists). Ozzie Price had 9 tackles(6 solo, 3 assists) and Armontie Price added eight tackles (five solo, three assists) for the Bearcats in the victory.
Baldwyn will travel to Bruce Friday night to play the Trojans in round two of the playoffs. Bruce just came off a close first round victory and will have to compete against a group of Bearcats who are determined to keep their playoff run alive.
“The second round game at Bruce will be a big football game for our team,” Gray said. “It gives us a chance to reach the 10 win mark and keep going forward in the playoffs. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Kickoff at Bruce is set for 7pm