After narrowly missing out on postseason, Baldwin football is motivated

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Friday, July 26, 2019 | 9:52 PM


The Baldwin football team is highly motivated.

Moreso than most.

The Fighting Highlanders’ 2018 season ended with a bitter taste, as they missed out on a WPIAL Class 5A playoff berth by one game.

They are laser-focused on advancing to the postseason this fall.

“We have been doing just about anything we can,” said Jarren Kelly, a senior wide receiver/defensive back, “Seven-versus-seven, speed training, regular practice, lifting, field work. We have a high-powered, big-play offense and a hard-hitting, fearless defense. The outlook for us is states or bust; there’s no other option.”

There were 14 juniors on the 2018 squad that ended up 4-6 overall after a promising 4-2 start, including offensive catalysts Mason Stahl (QB), Angelo Priore (RB), Nasser Penn (WR) and Kelly.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Kelly is a speedster, as are Stahl, Priore and Penn. All four also bring toughness to the lineup.

Stahl, Kelly and junior C.J. Robbins (WR/DB) were named first-team all-conference last year. Dorien Ford, a 6-5, 270-pound junior lineman, was an honorable mention selection.

Along with the established set of returning talent in the program, Baldwin coach Loran Cooley said there are other players on the verge of having breakout seasons.

Three, in particular, are juniors Connor Lavelle (WR/DB), C.J. Lucas (WR/DB) and Maisen Bourquin (OL/DL).

“Each of them is having a tremendous summer,” said the Fighting Highlanders’ third-year field boss. “I feel this will be a breakout year for Connor Lavelle. He has added 15 pounds to his 200-pound frame; he will be another kid that will gain D-I interest.

“C.J. Lucas is having a tremendous offseason. And Maisen Bourquin is 6-3, 265 with extreme athleticism.”

After high school, Kelly is planning, like many of his teammates, to continue his career at the next level.

He has had discussions with representatives from Maine, Kent State and other Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) schools.

“It has been going good,” Kelly said. “I’ve talked to a lot of schools. I talk to a good bit of schools that are really focused on how I perform my senior year.”

He plans to be one of the players to lead the Fighting Highlanders’ charge into the WPIAL postseason.

“This team is something special,” Kelly said.

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