Football team comes up with big win, but ends up in quarantine again

The Baldwin varsity football team defeated Hempfield on Friday.

A weekend that started with an exciting win for Baldwin football on Friday night ended with the players in quarantine again after a Hempfield player was diagnosed with COVID-19.

The Highlanders moved to remote learning instead of attending classes in person today, and they did not practice. 

In an email, Supt. Dr. Randal Lutz said the district learned Sunday night about the Hempfield player testing positive, and he decided to keep football players home and cancel practice today. The district is working to determine how long the players should stay out of school, he said.

“We shall continue to require all players to participate in remote learning and will keep the football operations closed as we continue to seek guidance needed to make a fully informed decision,” Lutz said.

This is the team’s second time in quarantine. After winning their first game against Hollidaysburg, the football team was quarantined for two weeks after a Baldwin assistant coach was diagnosed with COVID-19. The team missed two games while in that quarantine.

On Friday night, though, the story was that the Highlanders prevailed in a back-and-forth battle against Hempfield, winning 37-34.

“We all played great on both sides of the ball with amazing effort and intensity,” senior Luke Loeffert said. 

It felt great to play in front of fans and on our home turf.”

— Luke Loeffert

Assistant Coach Tom Simcho agreed, citing the team’s continued effort throughout the game despite being behind at times.

“We scored 17 points in the fourth quarter,” Simcho said. “I think that’s a positive sign for us.”

Simcho commended performances from Colton Brain, Luke Loeffert, CJ Robbins, and Bobby Benton as being crucial to the win.

“Colton threw for 201 yards, had three touchdown passes, and 40 rushing yards,” Simcho said. “He helped us out of quite a few sticky situations.”

Loeffert ran for 125 yards and a touchdown, while Robbins racked up 131 receiving yards and two long touchdown catches. 

“We rushed for 231 yards,” Simcho said. “You have to also give credit to the offensive linemen for creating those holes to run through.”

Simcho also commended Benton, a sophomore, for making his first career field goal. 

Elsewhere, Simcho said, there were some things to work on.

“We made a couple special teams errors that put our defense in some precarious situations,” Simcho said, “We dominated yardage wise, but the score doesn’t reflect that.”

Friday was the team’s first home game of the season, due to the earlier COVID-19 quarantine. Finally getting a chance to play on their own turf was refreshing for the team. 

“It felt great to play in front of fans and on our home turf,” Loeffert said. “It was nice to have some sense of normalcy back at our games.”

Senior CJ Lucas agreed.

“Playing without fans is just not the same,” Lucas said. “Having the fans back gave us that extra bit of energy and it was just fun playing for them.”

Overall, the team felt this win was important for moving forward.

“Getting this win was huge,” Lucas said. “We just need to clean up some stuff on defense and we should be in good shape.”