Baldwin Baldwin High football coach Mike Berg stuck to his guns with the rushing game during Friday's matchup with Louisburg at Liston Stadium.
Unfortunately, it was ineffective in the first half and eventually led to a 40-13 loss at the hands of the Wildcats.
"Our kids just didn't come ready to play, again," Berg said. "We're just making too many mistakes in the first quarter and we're kind of playing cautious.
"And I've got to fix that as a coach. I'm going to take the credit for that and make sure we get our team ready to play."
The Bulldogs only gained 33 yards of offense before halftime - rushing for a negative-four yards - while the Wildcats ran rampant, picking up 166 rushing yards.
"They run four different running backs in there and every one of them can run the ball and run it effectively," Berg said. "And they've got a big, strong powerful offensive line - they're going to win a lot of football games."
Baldwin (2-3) was able to make some adjustments on offense after the half as quarterback Blake Wieden capped a six-minute, 14-play drive that started on the Bulldogs' own 20-yard line with a one-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter.
However, outside of that 80-yard drive, Baldwin couldn't move the ball effectively, gaining only 54 more yards of offense. Sam Beecher accounted for 68 of the Bulldogs' 107 yards on the ground.
"Our offense sputtered," Berg said. "We cannot sputter like that. Then we come out in the second half and we don't sputter. We were able to sustain some drives."
Baldwin also had difficulty with turnovers, losing one fumble and throwing two picks. Meanwhile, Baldwin's only takeaway came via an interception.
"Louisburg does a great job keeping us on our side of the field," Berg said. "They've always done that. They play the field-position game and they did it again tonight."
On the defensive side of the ball, Baldwin was never able to stop the Louisburg rushing attack. Only twice did the Bulldogs stop a runner for a loss as the Wildcats finished with 368 yards on the ground.
"We're playing football really high right now and missing a lot of tackles because we're trying to tackle guys up high," Berg said. "So we've got to go back and work on our technique and our fundamentals."
Baldwin did get a bit of a spark from its special teams when Kyle Smith returned a Louisburg punt 60 yards to the end zone midway through the final quarter. But any momentum was squashed when Louisburg's Derrick Rowan scored his second rushing touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Baldwin will look to regain offensive momentum when it travels next Friday to Osawatomie - which gave up 508 yards rushing in a 50-7 loss to Spring Hill on Friday night.
"We live on running the ball. That's what we want to live on," Berg said. "We want to be able to move the ball on the ground. And we've been able to do it all year - we just couldn't do it tonight."
Louisburg 40, Baldwin 13
Louisburg 14 7 13 6 - 40
Baldwin 0 0 7 6 - 13
L - Jason Spradling 31 run (Cody Vail kick)
L - Billy Ewy 12 pass from Jeff Woods (Vail kick)
L - Spradling 3 run (Vail kick)
L - Spradling 42 run (Vail kick)
B - Blake Wieden 1 run (Logan Schiller kick)
L - Derrick Rowan 65 run (kick failed)
B - Kyle Smith 60 punt return (kick failed)
L - Rowan 32 run (kick failed)