Southeast Guilford managed adversity for its season opener.
Steven Baldwin rushed for 296 of the Falcons’ 427 yards and three touchdowns in a 42-20 win against West Charlotte at Jack Martin Stadium. Southeast fell behind early but never abandoned its running attack of Baldwin and C.J. McThay (20 carries, 114 yards, TD) to wear the Lions down and spoil West Charlotte coach Daren Hart’s debut.
“That’s my line,” said Baldwin, who had 25 carries. “Every week they open the holes. I just find them.”
Baldwin exploded for touchdown runs of 44 and 54 yards on consecutive second-quarter possessions to put Southeast Guilford in control just before halftime. He added a 61-yard sprint in the fourth to push the Falcons’ advantage to 35-20.
West Charlotte throttled the Falcons for most of the half before Baldwin’s 44-yard run to put Southeast ahead 7-6 with 2:20 in the second quarter. Seven seconds after the Falcons recovered the first of three onside kicks, Baldwin went for 54 yards and control of the game.
“The whole time I was on the sideline I was thinking we’re going to have some good days and some bad days,” Baldwin said. “Coach Fritz told us that early in the week and I kept that in my mind and I kept telling everybody I have to be a game-changer.”
Jaerkoya Patton opened the scoring with a 54-yard run on West Charlotte’s initial drive, but the Lions struggled to keep pace with Southeast’s potent rushing attack controlling the clock and tempo.
“I knew coming in this is one of the better wing-T teams in the state. I knew it was going to be tough and they kind of leaned on us a little bit with their size,” Hart said. “But the guys came out and executed and we had a chance to win in the fourth quarter.”
Quote: “We didn’t give up, we didn’t let down. We got up, got the ball back and got another score to go into halftime up.” – Southeast Guilford interim coach David Hines, who filled in for the suspended Walter Hessenthaler.
Records: West Charlotte is 0-1 and 0-0 in the Mecka 4A; Southeast Guilford is 1-0 and 0-0 in the All-Metro 4A.
Worth Mentioning: Southeast Guilford quarterbacks went a combined 2-of-5 passing for 28 yards. ... West Charlotte’s James Johnson ran for 83 yards on six carries, including runs of 23 and 21 yards.
What’s next: West Charlotte goes to West Mecklenburg for a nonconference game. Southeast Guilford goes to Eastern Guilford for a nonconference game.