Score another victory for defense.
Baldwin entered last Friday’s Nassau Conference I football championship game against Farmingdale less than a week removed from a record-setting 67-point, 10-touchdown performance. The Dalers, who allowed an average of 9.5 points per game through their first 10 matchups, limited the Bruins to a touchdown, a safety and just nine first downs in a 21-9 victory. The win gave Farmingdale its first county title since 2007.
“Our offensive and defensive lines got manhandled today,” Baldwin head coach Steve Carroll said.
After a first-half defensive
battle, the Dalers (10-1) broke through for touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters, the last a back-breaking 44-yard run by senior Kevin Petit-Frere that provided the final margin of victory. After a pair of short runs by senior quarterback Joe Valente brought up a third-and-2, Petit-Frere took the next handoff and barely broke stride as he hit the line and outran the Bruins defense to the end zone with nine minutes remaining. “You make one mistake and he runs 40 yards,” Carroll said. “You can only have so many stops before they break one on you.”
“He pounds it in there and all of a sudden he finds a hole,” Farmingdale head coach Buddy Krumenacker said of Petit-Frere, who finished with 168 yards and two scores on 19 carries.
Baldwin’s dynamic rushing attack, led by seniors Jovaun Tomlinson and Treyvon Mask, was limited to just 101 yards on 40 carries, with yardage even more difficult to come by after junior quarterback Tyler Warner was sidelined on the second offensive series with a thumb injury after being tackled while scrambling out of the pocket.
Tomlinson, who had a 79-yard touchdown run in the regular-season meeting between the teams, a 21-6 win by Farmingdale on Sept. 14, had just 60 yards on 18 attempts. He scored Baldwin’s only touchdown on a third-down, 6-yard scamper in the second quarter. The touchdown capped a 15-play drive that ran 9:46 off the clock and covered 73 yards, all of them on the ground.
For all the pressure exerted by the Dalers, it was Baldwin (8-3) that used some to get on the board first in the opening quarter. A 41-yard punt by Tomlinson pinned Farmingdale at its own 3-yard line, and the defense allowed just two yards on the next three plays, as the Dalers tried to get some breathing room in front of their end zone. On fourth down, senior Michael Abrahams came off the corner and blocked Farmingdale’s punt out of the end zone for a safety.
Baldwin’s defense was led by senior linebacker Johnathon Robinson, who registered a game-high 10 tackles, including seven solo. Abrahams had five.
“We had a phenomenal season,” Carroll said. “If you told someone you were going to play in the county finals, there’s not a kid that wouldn’t sign up for that.”