BALDWIN CITY — Baldwin’s Luke Laskowski scored three touchdowns, and the Bulldogs thumped visiting Ottawa Friday 20-12.
Ottawa struggled to contain the Bulldog run game, led by Laskowski, senior quarterback. But in the end, it came down to the Cyclones not responding to Baldwin’s physical play.
“I did not expect us to get beat physically like that, and we really did,” Rob Hedrick, Ottawa High School head football coach, said. “We had some mental mistakes, but they physically beat us.”
Two touchdowns, including one with a minute to go before halftime, gave Baldwin a 14-0 lead.
That score stood until Ottawa struck back on the last play of the third quarter. After the defense forced a turnover on downs on its own 15-yard-line, Ottawa went on the offensive. Kaleb Shaffer, senior quarterback, found sophomore Elias White for a six-yard score to cap an 85-yard drive. The ensuing two-point attempt was no good, and Ottawa trailed 14-6.
“In the second half, we responded with some physical play of our own, but Baldwin made more plays than us,” Hedrick said.
That proved true when Baldwin ate up clock on a drive that ended with another Laskowski touchdown with less than four minutes to go.
Ottawa responded with a touchdown drive of its own, capped by a six-yard touchdown pass from Shaffer to KJ Savage, sophomore wide receiver. The score came with 1:16 left, and the Cyclones couldn’t coral the onside kick attempt.
Ottawa (1-2) is back home 7 p.m. Friday against Chanute. Hedrick said his team will need to stay a “we,” not “me” team after a “gut-check” loss.
“It’ll be a big week of practice for us,” he said. “Every week is big, but when you have the threat of losing two in a row after getting physically dominated, it’ll be a big game. We have to respond, and play much better Friday night.”