BAY MINETTE, Ala. – Baldwin County High opened 2018 with a win over the Murphy Panthers 23-7 to open the 2018 season at Simmons Field in Bay Minette Friday. Murphy took their opening drive 43 yards in nine plays to the Tigers' 19 before the BCHS defense forced a sack and a punt.
Baldwin County scored on their first drive of the second quarter when Deimir Sewell sprinted off tackle for a five-yard touchdown with nine minutes left in the half. Josh Burton kicked the extra point and later capped a 70-yard Tiger drive with a 34-yard field goal to lead 10-0 at the half. BCHS had a Sewell rushing touchdown called back on a holding penalty earlier in the drive.
Leading 10-0 in the early in the fourth period, Murphy recovered a loose ball at the BCHS 40 and later scored to close the lead to three points. But the Tigers defense held ground the rest of the way against a strong MHS running game and the offense tacked on two more scores down the stretch.
“This was a typical first game with both sides not having a lot of advance experience or scouting with each other,” said Baldwin County head coach Nathan McDaniel. “We backed up a few times on that first drive they had, but our defense bowed their necks and forced them to do some things that didn’t work as well.”
For a defense with a few new starters and a junior quarterback getting his first varsity start, McDaniel was generally pleased with the season debut.
“Other than the mistake (on offense) that set them up to score, our overall performance was pretty good,” he said. “We played a lot of snaps on that side of the ball (defense} by then (fourth quarter) so, we may have been a little bit gassed. But we responded and scored and I think it took a little pressure off the defense but they still dug deep, came up with a big stop and kept them out of the endzone the rest of the way.”
James Stanley added a pair of touchdowns for BCHS in the fourth quarter – a one-yard plunge to cap a 64-yard drive and a 37-yard scamper to extend the lead to 23-7 with one-minute remaining after Burton’s point-after kick.
The Panthers went for a quick score, but Taeshawn Grant intercepted the Hail Mary pass at the 20-yard line and the Tigers ran out the clock.
“Murphy has a good bunch of players and are well coached,” McDaniel said. “I'm proud of how we adjusted on both sides of the ball to what they were doing and how we moved the ball like we did. We were far from perfect, but the effort and intensity was good and overall and that's a plus. Of course, there's a lot that needs improvement, a lot that needs to be fixed. So, I hope we learn from this and it helps us get ready for next week at Gulf Shores.”
Sewell threw for 106 yards on seven completions (10 attempts) and ran seven times for 44 yards. He also completed a 14-yard pass to Deimarkus Sewell. On defense, Gino Hayes had an interception for the Tigers in the second period. Ty Williams had a take-away strip turnover in the third quarter for BCHS.