BHS adjusts to new 7-on-7 rules
DE SOTO -- New rules and a new location are the highlights of the 7-on-7 summer passing league that began here Monday.
Members of the Baldwin High School football team are glad to finally be playing some football.
"It kind of sets off the football season and gets us in the swing of things," senior Blake Wieden said. "It helps with our passing."
Coach Mike Berg was also excited about starting the passing league, especially with the new rules.
"Usually we start it the first Monday in June, so we have been anxious to start," Berg said. "It's a whole new format this year and it's at a new location. So the kids are excited about all of the new things that are happening."
The one major new rule is that no score will be kept in any of the games. This year each team is allowed eight offensive plays that each begin at the 40-yard line.
A team can score touchdowns, but the line of scrimmage never moves this year. After the eight plays, the other team's offense takes over. The two teams rotate until time is expired.
Berg thinks the new rules will help the teams, since the competitiveness is gone.
"We got more accomplished, since we weren't worrying about who wins and who loses," Berg said. "The kids were relaxed, yet we were still focused. We got more reps in, because we didn't have to call timeouts and worry about the clock. We just played football."
Wieden said the new rules take a bit of the fun out of the league.
"We get more snaps in, but you lose a bit of competitiveness since there is no score," Wieden said. "You still want to win, so you play hard."
Despite the differing opinions on the new rules, both Wieden and Berg agree on the team's goals for the games.
"We are mainly working on catching and running good routes," Wieden said.
Berg also said defense is being worked on too.
"We are working on good routes, catching the football, making good passes and defense," Berg said. "We want to line up correctly and know who to cover."
For the first night Monday, Berg was pretty impressed with the Bulldogs' performance.
"They played excellent and beyond our expectations," Berg said. "We had new kids at some positions and we are missing a few kids. They stepped up and had fun. That's what it's all about, just having fun and learning our system."
Since state regulations don't allow coaches to work with their team, BHS Activities Director Gary Stevanus is once again coaching the Bulldogs.
"Luckily we have Gary to run the show," Berg said. "He has done it for the last six or seven years. The kids know he is a no nonsense kind of guy, so they work hard for him."
The other teams in the league include De Soto, Eudora, Turner and Shawnee Mission North.
Wieden said the passing league helps get him in the mood for football in the fall.
"It all kind of builds up to the beginning of the season," Wieden said. "It all helps make us a better team."
Berg is ready for football to be here, so he can play on the new Liston Stadium field.
"Every time I drive by the field, my blood starts boiling," Berg said. "That is going to be the most awesome thing for our kids to play on. I am excited about it. Every year at this time I get excited for football."