Football Bulldogs bury
There is no "off season" for Baldwin High School football anymore. This summer is a good example of that.
Coach Mike Berg is keeping his Bulldogs of all ages busy with an assortment of programs, including the old-standby weight room efforts. But there's also the 7-on-7 league and camps galore.
A good example of that was last week when Berg took a boat-load of Bulldogs to an offensive line camp. BHS made a strong showing at the camp in more ways than one.
"Last Wednesday we took 14 kids to the Emporia State University Offensive Line Camp," said Berg. "It had all of the Emporia State coaching staff. We had a really good turnout. We had seniors all the way down to a sixth grader. They worked on agility, techniques and footwork involved with offensive line play.
"We had the best turnout of any school there," he said. "Olathe North brought 11 and we had 14. We had potentially all five of our varsity starters there Witt Hinton, Mark Gastelum, Chapin Deel, Dan Hamilton and James Wright."
Berg was pleased with the response from his linemen, because that's where games are won and lost.
"That's for sure," he said. "We have to control the line of scrimmage to do anything. We're going to be a different team this year. We're going to pound, pound, pound with ball control."
Berg will have the horses to do that year, thanks in large part to the off-season weight program that has taken root over the last several years and has grown. Now the fruits of those efforts are evident. Gastelum is up to 240 pounds, Caleb Mason is at 220, Micah Mason and Brett Myrick are up to 200, with Tyler Inzer up to 180. Those are just some examples.
"I'm just excited to see all the kids on the field after what we've done in the weight room," he said. "We're faster and we're bigger. We're not the little guys this year."
The Masons figure in at the running backs, with Inzer at quarterback and Myrick at tight end, he said. They've compiled a 6-3 record in the 7-on-7 league which culminates Saturday at Gardner with a 24-team tournament. It starts at 8 a.m. and will be at both the old and new high schools in Gardner.
"We have a lot of kids who had never played 7-on-7," Berg said of the program BHS started taking part in about three years ago. "Or we've got kids playing in different positions, like the Masons at running back, Inzer at quarterback and Myrick at tight end. I was happy with our versatility."
He's also pleased with the response this summer to the work being done in the weight room and accompanying workouts.
"We have 95 kids who have come to the weight room, from the sixth grade to seniors," said Berg. "We have 16 seniors this year and I've seen them all 14 of them have been there consistently. This senior class has been great, helping the other kids and showing a lot of enthusiasm. I couldn't be prouder of those guys."
The sessions are from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday at BHS. He said there are about 20-25 regulars for the morning session and 40-45 in the evening. On some nights, it swells to that 95 number.
"Any Baldwin athlete is welcome," said Berg.
Also on the horizon are Berg's annual football camps. This year's Youth Football Camp will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. July 16-20. The Junior High Camp will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 23-27 and the High School Camp will be from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., also on July 23-27. All camps are at the high school. The youth camp, for third through sixth graders, is free. The junior high and high school versions are $25.
There is a plan for the camps.
"The purpose of our camp is to teach fundamental techniques for individual player improvement, implement our offensive and defensive schemes, provide opportunity for team development and promote competition through hard work and sportsmanship," said Berg.
Football isn't just around the corner. It's here now.