Bulldogs, Blazers set to do battle at Bash
One year ago, the Baldwin High School football team left Gardner-Edgerton High School with a bruising 36-19 loss.
This year, the Bulldogs hope to get revenge on their Class 5A opponents. One advantage Baldwin will have is the eighth-annual Bulldog Bash, the annual fundraiser that is hoping to draw 1,000 fans to Liston Stadium.
Coach Mike Berg is hoping the crowd support will help them for Friday's season opener.
"I think there is going to be quite a crowd at the Bash," Berg said. "I think the weather is supposed to be a little bit cooler, too. We are looking forward to it."
Last year, the Trailblazers racked up 443 yards of offense on the Bulldogs. Gardner even led 30-0 during the second half of the game.
Baldwin will have the home-field advantage this year because the game will be played at Baker University's Liston Stadium. On Tuesday, Berg said he hopes his players are ready Friday, because injuries have hurt the Bulldogs during the past week.
"We are going to miss a few of them because of injury," Berg said. "We are kind of up in the air right now about who's going to be starting Friday and what's going to happen."
The Bulldogs' season ended last year with a 14-0 loss at Eudora. Since that game finished, Berg has been ready for a new year of football.
"It's been a long time coming," Berg said. "Ever since the Eudora loss 14-0, all we've been thinking about is starting a new season."
Baldwin only lost a few seniors from last year's team that finished 4-5. BHS returns starting running back (junior) Sam Beecher and many seniors who hope to finish their careers with a winning season.
"We have a lot of guys that had experience last year," Berg said. "I am excited about that. We have 16 seniors. We have guys stepping up and fulfilling their role as seniors. I am very happy with that."
During the past three weeks, BHS has kept things simple at practice. The Bulldogs have worked on improving tackling and blocking. Berg wants his team to perfect what schemes and formations it will run during the season.
"Our offense is coming together well," Berg said. "We are just trying to not put very many new plays in. We don't want very many plays or formations. We want to be perfect at what we do."
The Bulldogs and Trailblazers take the field at 7 p.m. Friday at Liston Stadium.