Bulldogs ready for Gardner
Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg has been ready to get back to the gridiron since his Bulldogs lost to Chanute last November.
Berg will get his first chance to see his team in action in Gardner Friday night.
"I think our kids are really ready," Berg said. "I've been ready since the season was over. It was a long off season but a productive one, because of all the things we did. All of those little things are going to help."
Friday will be the first game of the season for both teams. Last year, Baldwin beat the Trailblazers 50-28 to begin the season.
Senior Blake Wieden said he is ready to start the season.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Wieden said. "We are all pumped and excited about getting the season going."
Junior Kevin Callahan said the Bulldogs are tired of beating up on each other in practice, so the game will be a nice change.
"I am ready," Callahan said. "I feel like everybody is pretty ready to get out on the field for the game. We want to get out in the game setting, so we are not hitting each other. We just want to get in more of a game setting."
The Bulldogs lost several key players from last year that gave BHS a speedy team. Berg said the team still has some speed, but it is also bigger and stronger than last year.
He also said that Wieden would be starting the game as quarterback. Wieden has started a few games in the past two years. He was the back up for 2006 BHS graduate Jeremy Wright.
"Right now, Blake is our quarterback," Berg said. "He has just prepared himself and done everything that we have asked of him. He is ready to go."
Wieden is ready to begin his senior season as the quarterback.
"I am really looking forward to it," Wieden said. "It's finally here so I am trying to make the best of it."
The Bulldogs also lost several running backs from last fall. Berg said he will be using several backs and wide receivers during the season.
"It's kind of a running back by committee and receiver by committee," Berg said. "We've got four guys working in there at receiver and three at running back."
Wieden said the Bulldogs should have a balanced offense this fall.
"We are pretty balanced right now," Wieden said. "We are good at running and passing. We should be balanced in everything we do."
One thing Berg is looking for is senior leadership. He knows his seniors are working hard, especially because the class below them is striving to be better.
"Our seniors should lead the team, but our junior class is pushing them," Berg said. "We had nine juniors last year and we are up to 14 seniors. Some of them haven't played before, but they are working hard."
The first two weeks of practice have gone well at BHS, according to Callahan.
"We have had great practices," Callahan said. "Our offense is looking good and our defense is looking tough. Everybody is doing their responsibilities everywhere."
Berg said his Bulldogs have been working hard in practice, especially those players who only play either offense or defense.
"There has been a lot of intensity," Berg said. "We are going older guys against older guys almost the whole practice. It's really going to pay off Friday night."
The first game's match up doesn't worry Berg, because he knows he must approach each opponent the same way.
"I am really not concerned who we play first," Berg said. "I think every game we need to keep getting better. We've got to play all of the big class schools anyway, so why not start with the biggest."
The Bulldogs and Blazers begin action at 7 p.m. Friday in Gardner.