Following difficult start, football team looks to earn more wins


Adam Degenhardt

The Baldwin Fighting Highlanders football team plays in WPIAL 5A section.

The Baldwin football team has had a tough start to the season, giving up 50 points or more in three games, but they are sticking together in practice and looking to put together some more wins. 

Baldwin’s overall record is 1-5, and the team is 0-3 in section play. The Highlanders play Canon-Mac tonight, and they have two more section games left, against South Fayette and Moon. 

Players credited the coaching staff for keeping the team focused and positive. Senior Joe Carr said wide receivers coach Jared Dumm is a great example of this approach.

“He always brings the energy in practice after a loss to get our minds off the bad week,” Carr said. 

Even with encouragement and inspiration from the coaches, the Highlanders have had to learn to deal with the season’s struggles. 

“Obviously it is never easy to take a loss when you have worked so hard all year to try to win,” senior Bobby Benton said. “But with that said, not everything goes the way you want it to. We just need to come together as a team and do our job consistently and we will win games again.” 

Although the team has struggled on defense, the offense has been dominant at times.

“Our running game has been elite, with Andrew Sharp taking charge with the ball,” Carr said. 

Junior John Kozar agreed, and pointed out that the occasional Baldwin pass play can keep the opposition on their toes.

“Our run game has really been the stronger part of our offense,” he said. “Throwing the ball a couple plays each drive really keeps the offense moving down the field.”

He said that if the Highlanders can successfully throw the ball a little more, they could really become a major offensive threat.

“When we are able to feel confident enough to make the big plays, we can scare some teams,” Kozar said. “We will really make teams rethink how they approach playing us.”

Benton cited other good signs from the season.

“Our ability to work together and keep fighting even if we are down” has been a positive, Benton said. “Also our offensive and defensive lines have been performing pretty well consistently.” 

Despite some lopsided final scores, the defense has had its moments, such as when the Highlanders held Bethel Park scoreless throughout the first half. 

To improve further, Benton feels that the defense should be more aggressive.

“We need to have more people flying to the ball on defense in order to make tackles and force turnovers,” Benton said. 

Senior Brady Hartman agrees. 

“The defense needs to hold their own and get more stops,” he said. 

The Highlanders have had some valuable players join late and have their first year of football in high school be this year. 

“It’s great to have more players on the team, especially some of the great athletes who have been joining recently. I just wish that they played football all four years, because who knows how much better they would be if they did,” Benton said. 

The new players fit right in and have been key contributors, Hartman said. Carr, one of those new players, is thankful that he joined the team. 

“I have joined a brotherhood. I can trust these boys, and they can trust me,” Carr said. 

Hartman, who is a captain this year, was not even a starter last year. Benton complimented the way he has stepped up. 

“Brady Hartman has taken a strong leadership role on the team. He went from being a non-starter as a junior to a two-way starter and team captain,” Benton said. 

Looking forward to the rest of the season, the Highlanders have hopes for better results. 

“The rest of the season will be strong and we will start to mesh as a team,” Hartman said.