Offseason workouts pay off
Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg was impressed by his players' pre-camp conditioning.
Last week, the Bulldogs held their annual summer camp. Their fitness and physical shape allowed them to work more on football than conditioning this year. That made camp more enjoyable for Berg and his players.
"From a conditioning standpoint, this was one of our best camps," Berg said. "We had guys still lifting and running at Bulldog Days during camp. They wanted to stay in shape even during camp, which is really nice to see."
During the summer, many of the BHS players have been lifting weights and conditioning themselves for the upcoming season. Many of them have also been attending Bulldog Days' workouts to help themselves.
BHS senior Zach Durr said the off-season workouts really helped the team during camp last week.
"I think that really helped us because we were able to get through the drills faster," Durr said. "That helped us learn a lot more technique and other stuff. Instead of conditioning, we were able to work on our offense and defense."
The extra pre-camp conditioning also helped make the camp finale a success. Each year the Bulldogs wrap up the weeklong camp with games of "hog ball."
It's a free-for-all game that is a cross between football and ultimate Frisbee. Playing "hog ball" has become a tradition at the BHS camp and everyone, including Berg, enjoys it.
"We had some very competitive games this year," Berg said. "It is a lot of fun for the players. Every one of them is able to play and they don't have to worry about who is touching the ball."
The teams were divided between classes this year. The seniors won the "hog ball" title, while the sophomores and juniors each went 1-1. The freshman team went 0-2.
BHS senior Jacob Enick enjoyed winning the championship, but he also enjoyed a chance to get away from playing on the offensive line.
"We did win this year and we had a lot of fun," Enick said. "We get to have fun throwing the ball around. I did catch the game-winning touchdown in the game versus the juniors. I've never been in the spotlight before, which was fun. I enjoyed it that day."
Durr also enjoyed sharing the "hog ball" title with his classmates. The seniors beat the sophomores and juniors to win the championship.
"Hog ball was really fun," Durr said. "Everyone just got out there and had a lot of fun. The seniors won, so that was good."
Even the underclassmen enjoyed the "hog ball" games.
"Hog ball was pretty fun," BHS sophomore Camdon Schwartz said. "I like how it keeps us moving and playing. It was competitive and the seniors sure enjoyed winning."
Although "hog ball" might be the highlight of the camp, the Bulldogs did have to learn some Xs and Os last week. Berg primarily focused on teaching some defensive technique.
The Bulldogs added several defenses during the camp, which they hope to use during the season.
"We tried to work on everything," Berg said. "We were putting in schemes for this fall, so that the players will have seen it before the season starts. We didn't perfect anything, but just gave them an overview of it all."
During the first four days of the camp, the Bulldogs worked for two-and-a-half hours a night. The BHS coaches made sure the players were busy learning something each night.
Although they were busy and working hard, the BHS players did enjoy playing football again.
"We had a really good camp this year," Schwartz said. "Coach Berg knows how to keep it serious, but make it fun also."
Enick enjoyed his final camp with the teammates he has played with for many years.
"We put in a lot of stuff at camp," Enick said. "We all worked hard together, because we've always been a pretty close group. It was good to play football with them again. That was a lot of fun."
The Bulldogs begin practice Aug. 13. They are ready to begin the season in 11 days.
"I think everybody is really ready," Durr said. "We've been working hard this summer, so we're just looking forward to having a good season."
Schwartz has mixed feelings about beginning practice, because it means school will start soon after.
"The season should be really good this year," Schwartz said. "I'm looking forward to starting practice, but not school. I can deal with practice."