By ERIC BENAC
News Sports Writer
ATLANTA-Even though the Atlanta football team may have lost 36-28 on Friday, the Huskies (3-4, 3-1 North Star League) proved any naysayers wrong by putting up a strong showing against an undefeated Baldwin team, including 20 unanswered points in the second quarter that gave the Huskies a 20-14 lead at the half.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Atlanta’s Jay Webster (green) catches a Seth Teets pass while Baldwin’s Brandon Childress moves in for the tackle in a Friday night matchup in Atlanta. The Huskies lost a tight game 36-28.
"They came and they played their hearts out and left it all out on the field. Turnovers and a couple personal fouls didn't help. Take those away and it might have been a different ball game," Atlanta coach Troy Cheedie said.
Baldwin scored on its first drive of the game on second and goal off a six-yard Brandon Childress pass to Daekwon Fisher to take a 6-0 lead.
The Panthers intercepted Atlanta quarterback Seth Teets with 5:08 left in the first quarter and scored two minutes later off a two-yard touchdown run by Childress. Alec Wroblewski added a conversion to put Baldwin ahead 14-0.
Teets picked up 184 yards passing and 108 yards rushing.
Atlanta's offense continually picked up yards against Baldwin, but struggled to get the ball into the red zone.
The Huskies punted back to the Panthers with 1:16 left in the first quarter, but got the ball back off a Josh Barrett interception.
The first play of this drive saw Jake Chambers run for 25 yards and catch a 32-yard pass. Teets handed off to Jay Webster who threw to Chambers for a nine-yard touchdown with five seconds left to narrow Baldwin's lead 14-6..
Barrett ran for 102 yards and a touchdown, picked up 40 reception yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Atlanta had a total of 226 rushing yards on the night and Chambers ran for 29 yards for the night and had 78 reception yards and a touchdown.
The Huskies held the Panthers scoreless on its next drive and kicked its offense into gear. Teets connected with Barrett on a 35-yard pass for Atlanta's second touchdown. Teets ran in the conversion, to tie the game 14-14 with 3:46 left in the half.
Atlanta shut down the Panthers' offense for the rest of the half and picked up several big plays, including a 24-yard screen pass to Taylor Juergens.
On 4th-and-19, Teets handed off to Chambers, who chucked a 37-yard pass to Webster for Atlanta's last touchdown of the first half to give Atlanta a 20-14 lead with 21 seconds left.
After several big plays on its first drive, including a 21 yard run by Teets, Atlanta had first- and-goal on the five yard line.
The Panthers were able to stop the Huskies and got the ball back with 6:36 left in the third quarter.
"That was the real big turning point of the game, that stop on the five yard. If they had scored there, we'd be talking a whole different game," Baldwin coach Doug Bolles said.
Baldwin drove the ball 95 yards on a drive that ate up more than nine minutes. The Panthers capped it with a one yard run to tie the game 20-20 with nine minutes left.
Atlanta ran into bad luck on its ensuing drives. A fumble gave Baldwin the ball back and the Panthers converted the turnover with a 19 yard run by Childress and a conversion to take a 28-20 lead with 5:29 to play.
The Huskies then lost the ball on the onside kick and Baldwin scored again 90 seconds later on a two-yard run by Childress and added another conversion for a 36-20 lead.
Atlanta answered back on its next drive when Teets hit Barrett in the end zone on a five-yard pass. The conversion was good and Atlanta narrowed the game to within tying distance with 1:38 left to go.
The attempted onside was no good and Baldwin ate up the clock for the win.
"Very impressed (by Atlanta), they're a very talented group of kids. We knew coming up here that they were good. We jumped out on them in the first and we thought 'Hey!' but then we relaxed in the second and they hit us back," Bolles said.
Atlanta faces Mayville next week.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.