BHS ties Ottawa in 7-on-7 finale
DE SOTO -- Although it didn't end like they wanted, the Baldwin High School football players still enjoyed their four weeks of the 7-on-7 passing league.
Baldwin concluded the summer league by going 1-1-1 on the final night here Monday. The Bulldogs' overall record was 5-2-1.
"It was fun," BHS senior Jared Dykes said. "We did a lot better than we were expecting to do, because we didn't know who our quarterback was going to be."
The Bulldogs starting quarterback last fall was Blake Wieden. He graduated in May, leaving a void at the position.
Senior Drew Berg and junior Sam Beecher both played quarterback during the 7-on-7 games. Senior Zach Durr even stepped in to play some quarterback Monday.
Coach Mike Berg didn't have high expectations for his team this summer, but he was pleased with the result.
"I didn't think we would be able to throw the ball very well," M. Berg said. "We didn't have anyone with varsity experience at quarterback. I was really happy with how we performed."
Heading into Monday night, Baldwin had a chance to play in the championship game of the passing league. That chance ended when BHS lost its first game 21-7 to Shawnee Mission South.
Baldwin then defeated the De Soto junior varsity team 14-0 to secure a spot in the third-place game against Ottawa.
"We weren't focused," Dykes said. "I don't think it kicked in until the last game. We decided to finally start playing."
Baldwin connected on its first four passes of the game to take an early 7-0 lead. Ottawa tied the score late in the game.
BHS threw an interception that was returned for a score with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Then the Bulldogs answered with a strike to senior Kyle Smith to tie the game.
The game ended in a 14-14 tie because overtime is not played during the league.
"It was exhausting, but we fought through it and came away with a tie," Dykes said. "It's better than a loss."
Senior Luke Weaver said the team began playing better in the final game, but still has some work to do before the season starts.
"We improved throughout the game," Weaver said. "Momentum picked up and our attitude improved. We are still not quite there yet."
Baldwin was short-handed a bit Monday as D. Berg and senior Jesse Green were unable to play. The league was scheduled to finish the week before, but rain pushed the finale back one week.
"That's one thing that hurt us tonight," Dykes said Monday. "We were missing our hands and our quarterback."
The Bulldogs only had one substitute on offense Monday and playing three consecutive games wore on the team a bit.
"We should be in better shape, but we still have a ways to go until August," Weaver said. "It's fun. It helps us a lot with fundamentals before the season."
M. Berg was proud of his players for their effort all four weeks of the league.
"We were missing guys and we were outnumbered," M. Berg said. "It was hot and humid, too. The guys were dropping the ball a bit, because I don't think they were focused at all times. However, I couldn't be more proud of them."
The Bulldogs will be holding their annual summer camp from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. all next week. The players and coaches are excited about camp this year.
"It should be a pretty good camp with a good turnout," Weaver said. "Everybody is going to work hard, I hope."
"I've seen 95 percent of these guys working hard this summer," M. Berg said. "I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of shape they are in."