Baldwin handed Oceanside its first loss last month. But rather than looking at that game as a job well done, the Bruins saw it as a challenge: Do better, score more and do not, under any circumstances, let the crafty Sailors outsmart you.
"You don't stop Oceanside," Baldwin coach Stephen Carroll said. "You have to outscore Oceanside."
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Consider Thursday's's Nassau I semifinal a mission accomplished. With record-breaking gusto.
Led by Jovaun Tomlinson, Treyvon Mask and Travais Hylton on offense and a strong defensive effort by Johnathan Robinson, the Bruins set a Nassau record for points in a playoff game, defeating No. 3 Oceanside, 67-27, at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
Fourth-seeded Baldwin (8-2) will play Farmingdale at Hofstra next Friday at noon.
"We had a good week of practice and we came out fired up early," said Tomlinson, who had 168 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. "We couldn't be stopped."
Baldwin blew it open by running off 46 of the final 52 points.
After Oceanside (8-2) tied it at 21, Hylton fielded the kickoff, and a block by Charles Cannova sprung him up the right sideline. Hylton broke a tackle near the 30 and scored on an 89-yard jaunt with 7:59 left in the half. On Baldwin's next possession, Tomlinson stutter-stepped right to evade two defenders and scored a 15-yard TD for a 34-21 lead.
Baldwin scored twice in an overpowering third quarter, on Mask's 5-yard run up the middle and Robinson's 36-yard interception return with 2:49 left.
The Bruins revamped their blocking schemes and pass defense from the teams' previous meeting, said Tomlinson, who broke up two passes. Baldwin dominated on third-down conversions, limiting the Sailors to 3-of-14 while going 8-for-12.
"Pass coverage was important to us because they weren't going to beat us in the run," Carroll said. "Our intensity was off the charts and we needed that to compete with the explosiveness of their offense."
Baldwin's offense, which amassed 454 yards, was plenty explosive itself. Tomlinson scored twice in the first half, starting with a 5-yard run up the gut to cap Baldwin's first drive.
"Anyone else running the ball gets four or five yards, while this cat can get 70 yards and a touchdown," Carroll said. "He's a skinny little kid, but you just don't tackle him."
Tomlinson and Hylton, who also scored three times, and Mask, who had two TDs, helped neutralize the early clinic put on by Oceanside's receiving troupe.
Ryan McCarthy's 3-yard catch over the middle tied it at 21 in the second quarter. McCarthy added a stumbling, 38-yard TD catch in the third. Tom Capone completed 13 of 28 for 183 yards and three TDs.
It wasn't nearly enough -- a result, Carroll said, of heavy preparation and a favorable matchup.
"Coach [Rob] Blount is too sharp with all the things he does," to do otherwise, Carroll said. "He's great to watch but frustrating to play against because you don't know what the heck is coming out at you."
The same, it seems, can be said for Carroll.