BJHS, Cats turn in good years
Baldwin Junior High School's first year football program accomplished what coach Nick Harris wanted as the eighth grade finished 4-3 and the seventh grade 3-4.
"I thought it was fantastic," Harris said of the just completed season. "Every coach wants to win more games than you did, but that's not all that matters.
"My measuring stick was at the end, we had 72 kids out," he said, which was about the same number that started the season. "They learned about the game. We had great fan support."
Harris is excited about the future, too, for several reasons. The Baldwin Wildcats, the city's entry in the Lawrence Youth Football league and comprised mostly of sixth graders, went undefeated this year and isn't finished yet.
"We've got the sixth-grade team playing in the Toy Bowl," said Harris. "They'll be ready to go for us as seventh graders next year.
"Hopefully the program has done what it was supposed to do," he said of the BJHS teams. "That was to get them interested, learn something about football and themselves and, No. 3, they want to continue for next year and the next year."
Just as important, the players have learned that it takes hard work all year to get better.
"They are ready for the weight room to be open," said Harris. "That's a great sign."
The eighth graders beat Spring Hill, Gardner, Eudora and Prairie View. The seventh graders did the same, except they lost to Spring Hill.
"I think in actuality both teams should have ended up 5-2," he said. "We never lost a game, we just got beat. That was especially true against Paola, which has had a good program for years.
"The thing I like is everyone, the junior high and the Toy Bowl team, are running the same things at Mike Berg is at the high school and that's what it's all about."