Seniors win hog ball nail-biter
Mike Berg nearly caused a slight controversy on the final day of his Baldwin High School football camp.
His involvement and a couple of his officiating calls had some of the senior Bulldogs nervous about losing their final hog ball championship.
"We played the juniors and all of the coaches in the championship," BHS senior Sam Beecher said. "Coach Berg played and called some pass interference calls that were questionable and it made me nervous with all of his shenanigans."
The finale to the annual football camp is a highly competitive and anticipated event by the entire Bulldogs' squad. Three of the coaches joined a junior squad that needed numbers.
In the championship game, both teams were tied nearing the end. The seniors scored on the final drive of the game to win by one touchdown.
"We were happy that we only lost by one," Berg said. "We kept it close and had them on the ropes for a while. It was a lot of fun."
When asked about the calls he made on the field, Berg said his players needed to learn how to deal with calls that might be questionable during a real game.
"They just need to know that the guy with the whistle makes the last call," Berg said. "If they're going to shove a coach in the back, we'll call it. It was kind of a lesson for the season, because they have to live with the calls that are made and then go on with the game like normal."
Although he disagreed with some of the calls on the field, Beecher was still excited to win the title, especially after narrowly losing it a year ago to that senior class.
"It was really exciting to win," he said. "We should have won last year, but we were able to win this year instead. This year we should have spread the ball around more, but we all wanted the ball."
Fellow senior David Garrison was also happy to earn the victory.
"It's always great for the seniors to go out on top," Garrison said. "Hog ball is a lot of fun."
The hog ball championship is important to the players, but it's not the goal of the Bulldogs' weeklong summer camp. One of the primary goals for the camp is to work on the team offensive and defensive schemes.
After five straight days of working on the Bulldogs' offense that was installed a year ago, Berg is feeling positive about the direction the team is heading offensively.
"They're very comfortable with our offense right now, since we didn't change anything," he said. "Our kids are running it very effectively right now. We've adjusted a few things and we're trying to improve what we do on the offensive side of the ball."
Now the Bulldogs must wait until the morning of Aug. 18 to begin practice for the upcoming season. The first official practice will begin at 6 a.m.
"I wish it was starting Monday, because we have such a big lay off between the end of camp and the first practice," Berg said. "I know they'll still be conditioning and working hard until practice starts. They will be focused on football when we start on the 18th."
Garrison also wishes their practices could begin Monday, because he is ready for his senior campaign to begin.
"I'm getting excited for the season," he said. "I'm ready to have another good season this year."