Plenty at stake Friday night at Liston
Motivation won’t be a factor Friday night.
Baldwin High School football fans are all too familiar with the Bulldogs’ next opponent. Their next challenger swept the Bulldogs a year ago and even broke many fans’ and players’ hearts in late November.
“This is a big game for us,” BHS senior Carson Wood said. “After two losses last year, we don’t need much motivation.”
The only difference is this year’s contest will be in Baldwin City. Both of last year’s games were in Louisburg. Friday’s contest will begin at 7 p.m. at Baker University’s Liston Stadium.
“It helps that we are home,” BHS senior Garrison said. “I hated going down to Louisburg twice. We’ve also gotten used to the turf. I like it.”
Baldwin (4-1) hasn’t beaten the Wildcats (4-1) since 2005. In 2006, BHS was thumped 40-13 at home. Last year, the Bulldogs were first beaten 31-20 before falling 21-14 in the state semifinal playoff game.
No one needs to remind any of the BHS players.
“I want to stomp on them,” Garrison said. “After last year, I think everyone should be playing full speed and 100 percent effort. We are going to leave it all on the field Friday.”
BHS coach Mike Berg knows his players are ready for Friday’s contest.
“We are 0-3 in the last three contests with them,” Berg said. “Our kids are motivated for this big game.”
Although last year’s games are on the minds of the BHS players, both teams lost more than a handful of seniors a year ago. Berg said the Wildcats have been playing this season as a new squad. Their offense will be similar, but different than last year with new players at the skill positions.
“They are a brand new team, but they are very talented,” Berg said. “They still have some big offensive linemen and they have a really good sophomore quarterback. They like the play-action pass and every once in a while they will throw one deep. Their running game has a lot of misdirection, so we have to play good assignment football.”
On defense, the Wildcats will play a similar style to Baldwin. Berg said they will also play a 4-3 scheme that includes big and fast players.
“It looks very similar to us,” Berg said. “We will also see some five-man fronts.”
Last week Louisburg beat Eudora 42-21 in a Frontier League contest. The Wildcats have also beaten De Soto, Spring Hill and Ottawa. Like Baldwin, the Wildcats’ only loss is to Gardner-Edgerton. They fell 49-0 to the Trailblazers.
Friday night’s game could determine the league’s runner-up team this fall. The game is full of hype and motivation and Berg knows both teams will be ready to square off on Liston’s turf.
“I think the tradition will carry over, because a lot of kids on both teams played in last year’s games,” Berg said. “I think everybody knows how important this game will be.”