Column: Be proud of football season
"Hold your head up, hold your head high" like the Argent song says.
That message goes out to the Baldwin High School football team. Hold your head up, fellas, because you have nothing to hang your heads about.
I know that 21-14 loss at Louisburg on Friday night hurt. It hurt a lot. I could see it in the emotions that were poured out on the field after the contest. You have the right to be emotional and upset that your season ended. It hurt me to see it end. I was enjoying the ride of the "Purple Tide."
It was hard to find words when talking to the players, especially the seniors. I know you played your hearts and guts out Friday. You left it all on the field that night, boys. Remember that.
Now that five days have passed since the defeat, it's time to hold your heads high and be proud of your accomplishments this fall. I want to see you walking around BHS with a smile and happy about your season.
You finished the season with a 10-3 record, which is obviously much improved from 4-5 a year ago. You avenged losses against Paola, De Soto and especially Eudora. Just think back to that Oct. 25 contest against the Cardinals.
How great was it to stop them on their final two-point conversion? I know it has to be one of the highlights of the season. As a reporter, it was one of the most exciting moments in a football game I've ever witnessed.
Other obvious highlights include the playoff victories against Kansas City Ward, Marysville and Columbus. You crushed two of those opponents and beat the other by 21points.
Once you get time to reflect on the season, you will realize that you advanced further than any other BHS team in 19 years. You even did it without a true all star or phenom on the team.
This year's Bulldogs were a true example of a team. There will be some all-area or all-league players on the roster. What you won't see is a Bulldog that will play at a high level in college. I'm sure a few of the players will continue to play at the collegiate level and I hope they do.
But, you don't see a running back like Micah Mason or wide receiver like Aaron Hannon. This fall was an entire team effort all season long.
There was the three-headed monster at running back with Sam Beecher, Gabe Mason and Jared Hall. All three led the team in yards per game during the season.
Quarterback Drew Berg did a great job managing the offense and avoiding mistakes with his throws. He was able to utilize his receivers, like Jesse Green, Brandon Tommer, Zach Durr and Kyle Smith.
Although all of the skill position players had solid seasons, it all started with the boys upfront. The offensive linemen made it all possible all season long. Players like Jacob Enick, Beau Elder, Anthony Ciambrone, David Garrison, David Tuley, Conner Nottingham and Ethan Hebenstriet.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs had two great players, one of which will return next fall. Luke Weaver was an incredible linebacker all year for BHS and will be greatly missed. He led the team in tackles and gave every ounce of energy he had. He even played a little offense during the final two games.
The other defensive star was Carson Wood. He pressured quarterbacks all season long and helped stopped running backs.
There were other players who contributed to the success of the Bulldogs this fall. One in particular was Ryan Moore. He was one of the instrumental players in the offseason and helping the Bulldogs attend Bulldogs Days.
He attended more than 40 Bulldog Days' workouts during the summer, because he wanted to win that state championship during his senior year at BHS. He was never the first person to finish a workout, but you knew he was going to finish all of them. He wanted to get better and he proved it.
The offseason workouts were one of the main reasons for the Bulldogs' success. They carried that over into the season. Since BHS will lose many quality seniors, the offseason will become even more important this year.
I want to be out there to run 68, or however many extra we ran, more 40-yard dashes with you. It was rough, but that dedication paid off this fall. That is what it will take every season to become a Class 4A powerhouse and perennial playoff team.
Congratulations Bulldogs on a great season, you deserved it. The community loved it and showed it every game. This is one you should remember for many years.
Now it's time for basketball and wrestling. So those of you playing a winter sport, carry over that hard work and remember that feeling you had Friday night. You don't want that again, so reach your goal and bring home a state championship for BHS.