‘Dawgs’ beat the heat
Incredibly when the pads came out the temperature cooled off. After scorching 90-plus degree days to start football practice at Baldwin High School, Thursday's temperatures hovered more around the 70-degree mark for the first day of pads.
"It was a great first week," said Mike Berg, BHS head football coach. "The weather cooperated and the kids were excited. We got a lot of work done."
To show how cool it was, there were fans with jackets on Thursday night to watch the first scrimmage of the season. That probably won't be the case Friday night for the all-sports recognition event which will showcase all Baldwin High participants in activities. Admission is a bottle of Gatorade.
The all-sports event is scheduled for Liston Stadium with a football scrimmage at 7 p.m. Prior to that, members of all sports teams and other activities will be introduced. Last year, because of rain, the event had to be moved to the BHS practice fields. That probably won't happen this year.
Friday's scrimmage will give fans their first chance to see the football team in the different classifications. The varsity, junior varsity and freshmen teams will participate. The freshmen will have their own scrimmage against each other and the varsity and junior varsity will play each other.
The Bulldogs have been working hard and back in the heat to get ready for Friday's scrimmage.
"We put in our new defense and the kids are excited about that," said Berg. "We reviewed our offense and put in some new techniques for our linemen to get them blocking better."
The offensive line was a question mark going into the season, but Berg has seen vast improvement in most of the people who will fill the line spots next to senior veterans Eric Waters (5-foot-11, 200 pounds) and Jake Barnes (6-1, 300). Berg specifically mentioned senior Brian Gilges (5-10, 225), junior Mark Gastelum (5-11, 220) and sophomore Dan Hamilton (6-0, 195) for making good showings.
"Mark, Brian and Dan have just turned it around," he said. "They're looking good and have shown tremendous improvement from last year."
The Bulldogs had some injury scares last week, but seem to have made it through. Waters was initially believed to have suffered a separated shoulder in Thursday's scrimmage and would be lost for two to four weeks. However, after a trip to the doctor, he was given a clean bill of health and he's back at practice. Another player suffered what was thought to be a torn ACL, but that was also upgraded.
Following Friday's scrimmage, the Bulldog varsity will have a week to prepare for the opening game of the season Sept. 1 at home against Prairie View. The freshmen will be first to kick off the season Aug. 31 when they travel to Spring Hill for their first-ever high school competition and, for most of the players, their first-ever football game.
The junior varsity will open up the season on Sept. 4 with a road trip to Prairie View.