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CoGo's High School Football Feature Matchup: Fox Chapel at Baldwin

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The Baldwin Highlanders (2-4) look to end their two-game losing streak, and earn their first home win of the season, in Week 7 against the Fox Chapel Foxes (1-5) following a 42-21 loss at the Wolvarena last week against the Woodland Hills Wolverines.

While the Wolverines doubled up on the Highlanders, Baldwin head coach Pete Wagner still took positives from the contest.

“Essentially, our team played about three and a half quarters,” Wagner said. “We gave up some big plays that were pretty costly. In the end, we saw positive results and a lot we could take from it.”

This week, limiting those big plays is a defensive necessity for the Highlanders.

“We have to play fundamentally sound football on the defensive side of the ball in order to contain them and prevent the big plays, much like last week,” Wagner said. “I think [Fox Chapel is] a lot more balanced than what they’ve been in the past. If we play a full game, we’ll hopefully be in good shape.”

Defensively, Wagner cited the speed and athleticism the Foxes have at the skill position as an advantage the Highlanders have to try to neutralize.

“Fox Chapel has utilized some athletes in the past couple weeks very well,” Wagner said. “They have a tall, rangy receiver that’s pretty dynamic and has made some plays. They have a running back that’s kind of in the same mold, has very good speed and made some long runs throughout the course of the season.”

When the Highlanders have the ball, the Foxes have strengths both on the front lines and the back end.

“They have a couple guys that get off the ball pretty well up front,” Wagner said. “The cornerbacks are two very good athletes that they utilize in order to bring some different pressures and do some different things defensively.”

For the Highlanders to succeed offensively, Wagner said his team needs to “stay balanced” while executing in crucial situations that lead to success on the scoreboard.

“We need to be able to convert on key downs. Key down-and-distances were a struggle throughout the course of the year, some goal-line situations, and key third-and-longs,” Wagner said. “Moving the chains is critical but when opportunities present themselves such as a goal-line situation, we have to make sure they count.”

While the Foxes pose challenges, Wagner expects his team to stick to its own approach. That’s the way Baldwin can pick up its first home win of 2013.

“We always stress to our kids, we’re going to do what we do offensively,” Wagner said. “We’re not going to break that mold. It’s about us executing our gameplan and making plays when it counts.CoGo's

“Our kids understand that, they’re very hungry, and I think our best football is yet to be played.”

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