Senior running backs Jovaun Tomlinson (176 yards) and Treyvon Mask (134) ran right. They ran left. And occasionally they ran up the middle, too, combining for 320 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Baldwin’s 28-21 Conference I football victory over first-place, and previously unbeaten, Oceanside last Saturday.
“Once we saw that we could get to the edge, we just kept going at it,” Baldwin head coach Steve Carroll said of his attack, which ripped off 10 runs of at least 10 yards, most of them to the outside. “We were able to hit the edge because our power-I backs and fullbacks [were making their blocks].”
But as much as the running backs shined, generating three of the Bruins’ four touchdowns, the play of the defense had as much of a role in their fifth win in seven games. Bringing pressure from the opening series, the defense registered five sacks of Oceanside’s potent quarterback, senior Tom Capone, who led the Sailors to an average of 28.8 points in their first six games. Senior Ryan Mahoney had 2.5 sacks, while junior Elijah Tucker had 1.5 and senior Lucas Krucher added one.
“To hold Oceanside to no points in the first half, you know you’re doing something right,” Carroll said. “We were able to get after the quarterback, and when you do that, you know that the coverage [in the secondary] is there.”
And although the secondary didn’t come up with an interception, there were plenty of active hands once the ball was in the air, as senior Travais Hylton broke up two passes and Mask broke up another. “They’re a good defensive team and always have been,” Oceanside head coach Rob Blount said.
Baldwin’s defense made its final stand late in the fourth quarter, as the Sailors, who previously erased a 21-point deficit in a win over East Meadow, battled back with three touchdowns after intermission. Capone started Oceanside’s final drive with a 10-yard run to put the Sailors in great position at midfield, but he had consecutive incomplete passes to senior wide receiver Anthony Pintabona. On third down, the Bruins again applied pressure, with Tucker getting a sack and forcing a punt.
“We know we’re definitely always going to be in it,” Blount said. “Today we just didn’t make the plays.”
Tomlinson and Mask made big plays beginning with Baldwin’s opening series. Each had a run of at least 30 yards, and Tomlinson’s 39-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter stood up as the game-winning touchdown. He burst through the heart of the Oceanside defense and raced untouched into the end zone, capping a brief three-play drive that covered more yards (58) than time on the clock (56 seconds).
After Oceanside broke through the Baldwin defense on senior Shane Saucier’s 10-yard touchdown run, Mask helped the Bruins answer with a 2-yard scoring run on the next drive. Baldwin marched 60 yards in eight plays on the drive, highlighted by senior Jonathon Robinson’s twisting 11-yard run down to the Sailors’ 5. Grabbed in the backfield, Robinson fought through the initial tackle and spun through a defender inside the 10 before finally getting pulled down.
Hylton turned a simple 3-yard slant route into a 51-yard touchdown in the second quarter, making his way across the entire field before cutting down the Baldwin sideline.
Tomlinson opened the scoring by following an army of blockers into the end on a 3-yard run in the second quarter, capping a 97-yard drive that began when the Bruins turned in a goal-line stand on Oceanside’s second possession.