Mother Nature brought the rain and wind . . . and Baldwin brought the thunder and lightning.
Running backs John DeBique and Matt Washington provided all the power and speed the Bruins needed to outlast host East Meadow in a muddy Nassau I football game on Saturday.
Quarterback Norman Wilson’s 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter propelled Baldwin to a 19-15 win.
“It’s going to take like five washes to get all this mud out,” said DeBique, whose white jersey was caked in so much mud that it was difficult to read the No. 34 on his back. “This is the best. Just to be in the mud, there’s nothing better than this.”
DeBique was covered for good reason. He made 16 tackles on defense, chasing down ball carriers and driving them down into the grass field covered in muck.
Several of his stops came on East Meadow’s final drive, which began from Baldwin’s 36-yard line with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter after Paul Imperiale blocked a punt.
“Without him, we don’t stop anybody,” coach Steve Carroll said.
The Jets got as close as the Bruins’ 24-yard line before a heave into the endzone on fourth-and-4 was batted down by defensive back Mohammed Alam, sealing the win.
DeBique catalyzed the offense too, running 11 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. His 31-yard score just before halftime capped a two-play, 64-yard drive that took only 25.2 seconds off the clock and started when Wilson found Tommy Airey for a 33-yard catch down the middle. It was 12-7, Baldwin, at halftime.
The Baldwin (4-3) offense, which operated out of the Power-I, thrived off quick-strike scoring. On the opening play from scrimmage, Washington took a counter off left guard, found a hole and sprinted 80 yards into the endzone.
“Anderson (Sylvain) pulled and made a good block, and I saw a cut,” Washington said.
Sylvain, Jared Smith, Armando Roman, Joe Gallogher and Jimmy Velasquez were sturdy on the offensive line, allowing Baldwin to control possession.
“We know that this type of weather caters to this offense,” Carroll said. “We had all sorts of spread stuff and gadget stuff ready for today, but the weather took it away from us.”
East Meadow (3-4) also kept the ball on the ground, feeding Joe Matchekosky (two touchdowns), Justin Reyes and J.R. Howell.
But Baldwin’s dynamic duo was too much.