Baldwin wasn’t facing a fierce, in-a-class-of-its-own opponent like it did in its season opener last week. Still, this was homecoming in front of a packed crowd at George A. Craig Field – and against a Glen Cove squad the Bruins knew they were capable of toppling.
So, ironically, Baldwin coach Frank Chimienti sensed even more nerves from his young Bruins ahead of Saturday’s game than he did last week, when Baldwin played heavy-hitting Garden City.
"As crazy as that sounds," Chimienti said after his team’s 21-6 win over Glen Cove (0-2) in Nassau II.
That likely played into the Bruins’ (1-1) slow start. Senior quarterback Zach Kirschner began his afternoon 1-for-4 passing through his team’s first two possessions against Glen Cove, whom Baldwin hadn’t faced since 1952.
"It was just kind of a matter of settling in," Kirschner said.
It took just one play on the third possession. Kirschner found senior wide receiver Dan Taylor on a post route, a 51-yard bomb that gave the Bruins a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter and, perhaps even more importantly, a jolt of much-needed confidence.
"That made a big difference for us after last week," Kirschner said, referencing his team’s 50-0 loss to Garden City in Week 1. "That touchdown was huge."
Kirschner completed the rest of his five passes in the first half, including a 16-yard pass to senior wide receiver David Wallace that set up a 1-yard rushing score by freshman quarterback Angel Johnson as Baldwin took a 13-0 lead into halftime.
Kirschner finished 8-for-13 passing for 161 yards and a touchdown.
"We knew he would bounce right back after a slow start," Chimienti. "He’s a great leader."
Johnson, whose speed and mobility make him an ideal complement to Kirschner’s passing prowess, helped seal the game in the fourth quarter with a 16-yard rushing touchdown.
"I’m not really big on a two-quarterback rotation," Chimienti said, "but they’re so different. Both great in different ways."
While Johnson has a role model to look up to in Kirschner, the elder Baldwin quarterback marvels at his younger teammate.
"He’s a freshman and he’s doing this stuff," Kirschner said.
Baldwin also received key contributions from junior running back Anthony Byron, who helped drain the clock with 11 carries in the second half, and junior punter Cedric Jean-Pierre, who pinned Glen Cove inside their 20 on three separate occasions in the second half.
"We knew we had to bounce back today," Johnson said, "and we did."