Before a packed crowd dubbed "Red Nation," Patriot High School newcomer Tim Baldwin quickly made his presence known Thursday in the Pioneers’ season opener against visiting Riverbend.
The Broad Run transfer ran for three of the Pioneers’ first four touchdowns in an eventual 35-6 victory.
The senior, who has at least 15 offers and decommitted from Michigan last November, got the scoring started in the first quarter, scampering 42 yards.
Baldwin added a five-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put Patriot up 14–6. After a 35-yard strike from quarterback Cody Rogers to Jalen Stroman with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half, the senior tailback notched his third rushing touchdown of the half from six yards out.
Patriot led 21–6 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Patriot immediately picked up where they left off. Rogers scored on a five-yard touchdown run at the 9:39 mark to put the Pioneers up 28–6 and it was smooth sailing from there. Sophomore running back Keith Jenkins concluded the scoring for Patriot, putting them up 35–6 late in the fourth quarter with a two-yard touchdown run.
Defensively, the Pioneers dominated Riverbend from start to finish. They smothered the run repeatedly and forced Bears quarterback CJ Thompson into two interceptions, both at the hands of junior Jonathan Prempeh.
“Things went against us a little bit in the beginning, but we stuck with it,” head coach Sean Finnerty said after the win, referring to the lone touchdown they allowed in the first quarter. “We played hard and we gave a lot of effort tonight.”
Like Baldwin’s impressive debut, the win was also the first for Finnerty as Patriot’s coach. Finnerty replaced Brud Bicknell, the school’s first coach, after Bicknell retired. Previously, Finnerty had been the head coach of Liberty-Bealeton, compiling a 50–31 record in seven seasons.
Patriot will travel to Mountain View for a 7 p.m. game Sept. 6.