Baldwin breaks out in second half for victory
After struggling to run its regular offense the entire first half Friday, Baldwin scrapped that plan completely.
The Highlanders began the second half using their no-huddle, wildcat-style offense called "Z-Pack" and never looked back, scoring on its first three possessions to pull away for a 35-7 nonconference win at Norwin.
Tied 7-7 at the half, Baldwin (2-1) forced a three-and-out by Norwin (0-3) on its first possession.
Then, the Highlanders took the field with senior receiver Zach Denardo — Zach being the "Z" in Z-Pack — taking the snap in the shotgun. Six plays later — all runs by Denardo — Baldwin scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 20-yard run.
"Two years ago, we played Woodland Hills in the playoffs. Zach had been a receiver for us all year, but we put him at tailback and he ran for almost 100 yards," Baldwin coach Jim Wehner said.
"Ever since that time, we keep saying we want to get Zach at tailback, but we've got Dorian Brown back there, we've got Stephon Harris at tailback, so we're trying to get everyone on the field at the same time."
Brown, who led the Highlanders with 144 yards rushing on 22 carries, also got going in the second half. The junior tailback needed just three plays to score on Baldwin's next possession, scoring on an 11-yard run set up by his own 37-yard burst.
"We were just trying to figure out a way to get Dorian Brown on track," Wehner said. "We knew once we got him on track that we were going to be OK."
Denardo finished with 47 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns, the first on a 1-yard run before halftime that tied the score and provided the first glimpse of Z-Pack.
"There were things we were trying to do defensively against that," Norwin coach Art Tragesser said, "but sometimes, it's just hard for a young team to pick stuff up like that without practicing against it."
Norwin ended its two-game scoring drought early in the first quarter.
Dylan Keffer recovered a fumble caused by a bad handoff on the Highlanders' first play from scrimmage. Four plays later, Norwin senior running back Tyson Blazer broke a 34-yard run off the right side for the Knights' first touchdown of the year and a 7-0 lead. Blazer led Norwin with 82 yards rushing on 17 carries.