Baldwin football camps bring smiles
There weren't any pads popping, but the football season arrived big-time last week in Baldwin with football camps for both high school and junior high school players.
Turnout was high, with 70 players showing up for Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg's camp. There were another 60 at Baldwin Junior High School coach Nick Harris's camp, the first conducted by him and the first-ever for a BJHS team. The sport was just added at the junior high.
It wasn't the first anything for veteran Berg, but he sure liked what he saw.
"I thought we had a very good turnout for football camp and we got a lot accomplished," said Berg, now in his fourth year at the helm of the BHS program. "The players really showed some athletisicm from all the hard work they've done in the weight room and elsewhere over the winter, spring and summer.
"Right now our football team is in good shape and we've got some leaders rising to the top," he said. "It was almost like we were in practice. There was some intensity and we had fun. They practiced hard in every drill."
He was especially pleased with the leadership from the senior class, which carried all the way through to the freshmen.
"The seniors lead by example and that's the way it should be," said Berg. "The freshmen look up to the seniors. They respect them, but they're not scared of them.
"I'm coaching football and it's so much fun," he said. "I told the seniors to keep it up and we'll have fun. They're working hard and having fun and they will be rewarded for their efforts."
Harris had a similar experience with the junior high troops and has been pleased with the support shown for the first-year program.
"I thought it was great," Harris said of camp. "The enthusiasm of the kids was great we had about 60 every night and the parents were there to support them. Mike was there to help. I was just really pleased with how it went. As long as we can keep up the community support, it's going to be a great endeavor for years to come."
Both squads wrapped up the week with celebrations. The junior high players and parents were treated to a watermelon feed. For the high schoolers, there was one more task to finish before kicking back. The players went all over town selling "Bulldog Cards," which are good for discounts at various businesses. They were sold to pay for new uniform pants. New jerseys were purchased by the district this year, but the pants were extra.
"It was a good fund raiser," Berg said. "Everyone who showed up for camp, showed up for the fund raiser. We raised enough money for our new pants. We'll have new uniforms this fall.
"I really appreciate the support we got from the community," he said. "The community has supported football all up and down the program."
The team completed that task around 9 p.m. and then was treated to a pool and pizza party. Before it was all over, 30 pizzas disappeared.
"I thought we had enough pizza, but we didn't," he said. "It was just a great night. It went flawless. I want to thank the people at the pool, Walt's Pizza and the community. Everyone had a great time and got home safely."