All-Star start for Baldwin football
Football is an early summer staple for some Baldwin residents, including all-star game appearances by both Baldwin High School graduate Brian Lauridsen and his coach, Mike Berg.
Lauridsen, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker who has signed a letter of intent to play for Tabor College, was nominated for and selected to play in the Metro Classic. The game pits the top 40 players from eastern Kansas against the same number from western Missouri.
The game will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Olathe District Activity Center. Lauridsen will be playing outside linebacker and is ready to go.
"I'm very happy to get the pads back on, especially since I missed the last game of the season," said Lauridsen. "The knee is perfectly fine now. It's like it never happened."
Lauridsen was nominated, selected and found out last week. He's been practicing at MidAmerica Nazarene College since. He's getting anxious for Thursday's game.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I can't wait to go out on the field. It's a very nice stadium. It gives me a chance to play with guys I usually play against."
Berg is also pleased with Lauridsen selection and knows it's the result of hard work.
"I'm very happy for him," said Berg. "He just found out Monday that he's starting at outside linebacker. It says something about him. He's a very special athlete.
"I think it shows mostly how hard he's worked," he said. "I had him in weight class after the season and he just worked hard every day to get better. One of the coaches of that game told me he stood out as linebacker with his quickness and knowledge of the game."
As for Berg's all-star game appearance, it was Saturday at Pittsburg State University for the National All-Stars. It's put on by an organization that's done college all-star games for years, but just started with high school games. Saturday's was the second. It had players from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma.
The game is designed to give just-graduated seniors one more chance to show off for college recruiters. Berg was offensive coordinator and Baker University's Brian Boyle was defensive coordinator.
"It was very exciting and kind of got my blood boiling for football," said Berg. "We got down there and had two days to get them ready. We were limited with what we could do -- only two offensive formations and the defense had to play a 4-3 with no blitzing."