By Tim Peterson
(Baldwin Park) – Baldwin Park jumped out to a 40-14 halftime lead and rolled to a 40-27 win over Diamond Bar Friday night on the Braves home field.
Baldwin Park’s balanced attack was on display as the Braves showed their ability to beat you on the ground or through the air. Drew Knight, who already owns nearly every passing record for Baldwin Park, threw for 215 yards and a touchdown. The Braves also rushed for 216 yards.
“We have a balanced attack. The perception may be that we are only a passing team but we have a stable of running backs,” said Baldwin Park head coach Ibis Aguilar. “We have a 52 percent passing to 48 percent running offense.”
The Braves established their dominance right away. They needed just two plays to get in the endzone on their first possession. Knight hit Harley Wirth for 55 yards down to the Diamond Bar 15. On the next play Isaiah Ariza went 15 yards for the score. With 11:34 left in the first quarter it was 7-0 Braves.
Later in the quarter Knight capped a seven-play, short 41-yard drive with a five-yard jaunt for a two-touchdown lead.
On Diamond Bar’s next possession Ariza made his presence felt on the defensive side of the ball as he stepped in front of a Quinton Mendoza pass and returned it for a 13-yard touchdown. Before the seats were warm it was 21-0 BP.
Mid-way through the second quarter Knight connected with Tec Nunez for 46 yards to highlight a seven-play drive. Josh Gonzalez finished it with a two-yard run. Although a 27-0 lead in the second quarter isn’t insurmountable, it was safe to say the Baldwin Park faithful were feeling pretty good about things.
The Brahmas finally responded on the next series when Kai Jenkins took a swing pass from Mendoza and raced down the left sidelines for a 46-yard touchdown as Diamond Bar got on the board.
But the Braves weren’t done in the first half. Corey Lacy bulled his way across the goal line from 12 yards out to make it 34-7.
Isaiah “Zay” Young gave the Brahmas a glimmer of hope when he returned the ensuing kick off 76 yards for a touchdown to make it 34-14.
Okay the Braves will take the 20-point lead into the half. Not so fast. There were still 52 seconds remaining and sure enough Knight found some magic and found Nunez again as well for a 45-yard TD strike in the far corner of the endzone with five seconds left. the extra point attempt failed but Baldwin Park had a 40 spot in the first half running into the break up 40-14.
Baldwin Park never scored again but it was all they needed in this night. In the second half the Braves chewed up valuable minutes off of the clock mainly behind the running of Lacy and Ariza. Knight also ran for 79 yards on 9 carries and a touchdown.
Diamond Bar did manage two more scores. Maddox Bernardino hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mendoza in the third quarter and Young picked up his second of the night on a two-yard run in the fourth. But the Braves burned up a big chunk of the clock to salt it away.
For Diamond Bar Young rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries to go along with his kickoff return. Bernardino had 3 catches for 44 yards and a score.
Gonzalez ran for 55 yards and a score for the Braves while Lacy and Ridge Lalau combined for 56 yards.
Baldwin Park improved to 5-1 overall while knocking Diamond Bar from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Brahmas are also now 5-1.