By Kedrick Storey
BALDWYN – The Baldwyn Bearcats simply could not get out of their own way in their first North championship game since 2008.
Of their 13 offensive possessions in a 31-0 loss against the Calhoun City Wildcats, seven of them ended with a turnover, a bad statistic to have at anytime of the year, especially the playoffs.
“We just didn’t play well. There is no if, and, or but about it. We didn’t take care of the ball on offense,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said.
Entering the game, Baldwyn senior quarterback Corbin White had thrown just seven interceptions in 232 attempts and never had more than one in a game. Against the Wildcats, he tossed three in the first half and totaled four on the night in 19 attempts.
The Bearcats also had three fumbles, including two first-quarter drive killers.
Trailing by two scores to start the second half, Baldwyn running back Duke Upshaw put the ball on the ground on its first drive of the second half. Calhoun City converted it into a 12-yard Levarious Varnado TD for a deflating 18-0 lead with under eight minutes to play in the third quarter.
With the miscues, Baldwyn had only three more first downs (10) than turnovers and totaled just 185 yards. Cahoun City coughed the ball up at times, but won the turnover battle 7-4 and Gray said turnovers were definitely the difference.
“It was obvious,” added Gray. “If you turn the ball over, you’re not going to win anyway. We didn’t give our best effort.”
On the opposite, Calhoun City coach Perry Liles said praised his defenses’ effort. Wildcats’ defensive back Brieton Sykes stepped in front of three of White’s passes.
“They (Baldwyn) have a lot of great weapons and we expected they would move the ball some, but I’m just so proud of our defensive effort,” Liles said. “That was the first shutout of the year and what a time to get one.”