djr-2021-10-16-sport-baldwyn-pippin-twp1

Baldwyn running back Braylon Pippin shoves his way past a Potts Camp defender on Friday night.

BALDWYN • Without its top target in the passing game, Baldwyn resorted to what is most comfortable – pounding the rock.

The Bearcats, ranked No. 1 in the Daily Journal's small school rankings, racked up 374 yards on the ground as they hammered Potts Camp 49-13 on Friday night to clinch their spot in the Class 2A football playoffs for the 21st consecutive year.

Sophomore wideout Hastin Nelson suffered a fracture in his ankle in practice this week. His absence caused Baldwyn (7-1, 3-0 Division 1-2A) to lean on its experienced offensive line and deep running back unit.

“We knew we were able to get to the edge and hopefully be able to pop some big plays, and we were,” said Baldwyn head coach Michael Gray, who picked up his 100th career win.

The Bearcats came out racing to a 14-0 lead behind touchdowns runs from Jojo Christian and Jamaury Marshall. But turnovers aided in a quick 13-point swing for the Cardinals (4-3, 1-2), as Britten Traylor recovered a fumble and recorded an interception in a string of three takeaways that directly led to touchdown passes of 61 and 64 yards to the sophomore wide receiver.

Mario Jenkins had the other interception for Potts Camp.

Gray went back to the well on the ground in the second quarter, where the Bearcats scored 21-straight on a pair of touchdown runs from Braylon Pippin and another from Drelin Watson for a 35-13 halftime lead.

Potts Camp had two turnovers of its own in the first half – both fumbles – the second of which was recovered by Cameron Mitchell and returned to the 6-yard line, where Pippin cashed in on the score with 34 seconds left.

“You can;t turn the ball over against a team like Baldwyn,” said Potts Camp head coach Darrow Anderson. “… Those were backbreakers going into the second half.”

Christian added a 69-yard score in the third, while Marshall connected with Caden Stewart in the fourth on a 51-yard pass to end the scoring.

Extra Points

Turning Point: Following a third straight turnover, Baldwyn’s Rodney Stewart picked up one of his four sacks to stall a Potts Camp drive, leading to a touchdown drive for the Bearcats and a 21-13 lead with 5:23 to play in the first half.

Point Man: Gray is now 100-62 in 13 seasons as the Bearcats' head coach.

Talking Point: “I knew I was getting close. I knew if we’d keep playing the way we had been playing, it would come.” - Gray, on his 100th win.

Notes

• Christian had 149 yards and 2 TDs on 6 carries.

• Pippin rushed for 111 yards and 2 TDs on 14 carries.

• Next week, Potts Camp hosts East Union, while Baldwyn welcomes Belmont.

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