Baldwin players build the foundation for future success

ALDWIN — Baldwin football coach Doug Bolles and his players weren’t expecting their Division 8 football first-round playoff game at Fowler to be easy last Friday.

It wasn’t.

The 42-0 loss ended Baldwin’s season at 6-3.

“We ran into a powerhouse,” Bolles said. “We ran into a team whom we really couldn’t physically really play with too much. When (running back) Andon (Ware) got hurt, it took away our best player and took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”

SIGNIFICANT GAINS: Brandon Childress (10) will return at quarterback next season for the Baldwin football team. The Panthers finished the season at 6-3. (Pioneer file photo)

Ware sustained a high ankle sprain in the first quarter and did not return following a tackle.

Fowler proved to be the best team the Panthers have seen this season.

“Unfortunately for our seniors, they’re done but they’ve set the foundation,” Bolles said.

It was the first time in six years the Panthers were making a playoff appearance.

“It was good for them to see what’s going to take to place at that level and for a little bit more hard work in the offseason,” Bolles said.

Hunter Nichols, Willie Jones and Devon Sparks-Burrell, along with Ware, are graduating.

“We have eight returning starters on both sides of the ball,” Bolles said. “Ware is a one of a kind kid. You don’t get someone like him very often. Hunter Nichols put in a lot of time with Andon and had his best season, they’ll be tough to replace. The kids now know what it takes. Hopefully it pays off and they’ll work hard.”

Baldwin lost to Vestaburg and Coleman during the regular season. But overall, Bolles and his crew had a fun year.

“You win, more kids show up at practice, they’re excited and the school is excited and the community is excited,” Bolles said.

There’s no break for Bolles however. He’s coaching the junior high boys basketball team which has games this week.


Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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