MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — The comparisons to last season continue mounting for the Baldwin High School football program.
The Braves (0-3) have dropped their first three games in very similar fashion to a year ago, most recently with last week’s 33-23 loss at Veterans. The Warhawks took the 2018 meeting between the two teams 38-30 in a game BHS could have won if not for its own mistakes. The same thing happened last Friday night as the Braves found themselves in a quickly-dug hole that only got deeper thanks to a fumble and a surrendered blocked punt. The miscues turned into 14 points for host Veterans, putting the game out of reach.
Some gems were discovered in all that digging. Sophomore quarterback Gerald Kilgore was given the keys to the offense after his classmate and fellow signal-caller Derrick Lewis was forced to sit out with a rotator cuff injury. Kilgore played his best game to date as a varsity football player. Junior Javon Bullard, known most for his role as a safety, came over and helped out the shorthanded offense by playing wide receiver, and all he did was produce over 100 yards. Other injuries have allowed more players who were unknowns step up and show that they can help the team out right now.
“We’ve got a lot of weapons we can use, and Gerald did a great job of managing the game,” Hicks said. “We took what we felt like they were giving us. We thought we could throw the ball on them, and we did a good job of that but we just gave up too many points early.”
If there’s any positive about the multiple injuries sustained early in Baldwin’s season, it’s that the team is still a month away from starting region competition.
Lewis is out indefinitely with his shoulder injury, so Kilgore will continue leading the BHS offense. Other Braves are expected back from injuries this week, including freshman wideout Shatavious Hogan and defensive lineman Jordan Walls whose absence has been felt against opponents’ run games. Hicks did not know for certain if Walls would be able to go this week but said he should be ready next game as he’s been working his way back from a knee injury.
The task set before the Braves this week is another tall one. They’ll make a second-straight trip to Warner Robins, this time to face 2-0 Warner Robins High School. The Demons were off last week but opened their season with wins over 7A Tift County (24-10) and Locust Grove (43-7). Warner Robins, a 5A school, played its way to a 12-3 season a year ago, one that included a memorable loss in the state championship to Bainbridge.
The Demons lost a good bit of production from that 2018 run, including quarterback Dylan Fromm and head coach Mike Chastain, but there’s always good football talent in the Warner Robins area. In that pool and wearing No. 2 is senior wide receiver Marcayll Jones who is currently committed to play football at Memphis. Jones was an All-State selection last season and is on track for another strong year. He and Baldwin’s Bullard will become well-acquainted Friday night as Coach Hicks says his standout DB will follow the quick receiver wherever he lines up on the field. Warner Robins’ Ty’larrious Carr has been the team’s second option and he’s only one big play behind Jones in terms of yardage, so BHS will need to account for him as well. Even with all that talent on the outside, much of the Demon offense comes through the run game and screen passes. The Baldwin head coach believes stopping those two attacks will be key this week.
“They’re not the team they’ve been the last couple of years,” Hicks said. “If we can keep them in the box and stop the run we’re going to be fine. I just think that if we don’t make mistakes then we can play with anybody.”
Friday’s kickoff between Baldwin and Warner Robins is set for 7:30 p.m. in Warner Robins.