Long drive helps Baldwin secure win against Woodland Hills

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Friday, September 27, 2019 | 7:21 PM


The Drive. Baldwin secured its 30-27 conference win Sept. 20 against visiting Woodland Hills thanks in large part to a crucial 18-play, 93-yard drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Mason Stahl.

It was the most important drive of the season so far for the Highlanders.

“I thought our offensive line did a great job against Woodland Hills’ great defensive line,” coach Loran Cooley said. “Our kids fought. This was a great team win. I’m truly proud of our staff and our boys.”

The Highlanders held a 23-20 advantage late in the third quarter when they started what would be the winning drive at their 7-yard line.

The home team methodically marched downfield, running on every play, collecting six first downs and converting four third-down attempts.

Senior running back Angelo Priore rambled for 32 yards on eight carries. He finished the game with a team-leading 147 yards and one score on 28 carries.

“I told our kids all week that we had to be physical,” Cooley said. “Angelo looked me in the eyes and told me he wanted the football, to give him the football. He didn’t care what was called. That’s what the great ones do. It was a great team effort.”

Stahl, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, ran for 34 yards in the series, including the decisive TD burst with 8 minutes, 30 seconds to go. Stahl moved the sticks three times on third down on the drive and complemented Priore with 131 yards and two scores on 26 carries.

The talented tandem mainly followed the blocking of seniors Joe Pracel, Shayne Henchell and Robbie Keefe and juniors Dorien Ford, Maisen Bourquin and Mike Cadwallader (5-10, 185). Another Baldwin lineman, junior Riley Voelker, was out with an injury.

Ford (6-5, 280), Bourquin (6-2, 280), Voelker (6-4, 275) and Keefe (5-11, 220) are the heavyweights on the line.

Stahl attempted only six passes, completing three for 54 yards and a touchdown on a 30-yard toss to senior wideout Jarren Kelly. That gave the Highlanders a 23-20 cushion with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Baldwin also was aided by three Woodland Hills penalties for 25 yards.

A clutch interception by senior defensive back Naseer Penn at his own 15-yard line with 31 seconds left sealed the win.

With the important victory — the first by Baldwin against Woodland Hills since 2007 — the Highlanders climbed back into the playoff chase in the Class 5A Allegheny Conference.

Through five games, Peters Township (5-0, 3-0), Moon (4-1, 2-0) and Bethel Park (3-1, 2-0) were unbeaten in conference play, followed by Upper St. Clair (3-1, 3-1), Baldwin (2-3, 1-2), West Allegheny (1-3, 1-3), Chartiers Valley (2-3, 0-2) and Woodland Hills (0-5, 0-4).

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