Berg prepared for Panthers
Season opening games are always tough on football coaches.
Mike Berg hopes he has scouted the Paola Panthers enough to give his Baldwin High School football team a chance to win Friday's opener. After each game, coaches trade game films, which makes the first contest a guess sometimes.
"It's so hard to know what an opponent has for the first game of the year, because you don't get to see any film on them," Berg said. "You have to look back at the history of the team. We did get to see them at their scrimmage."
Baldwin travels to Paola to begin its season as kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday. It will be the first Frontier League game of the season, too. A year ago, Baldwin beat the Panthers 20-7, but Paola crushed BHS 39-14 two years ago.
"Paola is traditionally really strong," Berg said. "We seem to go back and forth each year with who beats whom. It's going to be a great game and it's at their place. They always play tough over there."
After watching the scrimmage, Berg expects the Panthers to use the same offensive scheme that they've used for many years. However, he wasn't sure about their quarterback, as he was sick that night.
"What we know is that they are running the same thing that they've run in the past, which is a lot of option and toss sweep," Berg said. "They have a couple of kids that are pretty fast.
"The quarterback was out with mono, so he didn't play in the scrimmage," he said. "They had a backup in there who looked pretty good. He didn't keep the ball much on option. Their fullback is the one who impressed me. He runs low to the ground and has a lot of power."
As far as a defensive scheme, what Berg saw was a slight change in the number of linemen. He wasn't sure if it's just for the Bulldogs' single wing offense, but he knows it will be tough to run against.
"It looks like they are going to a different defense," Berg said. "It's 5-3 defense with a lot of stunting and blitzing. There are going to be eight guys in the box, but we've been working on it this week. They are going to be pretty tough inside. I think they were working on that at their scrimmage to prepare for our power game. We're going to be in for a dog fight."
To counter opposing defenses that will load up on linemen and linebackers, Berg and the Bulldogs have tried to improve their passing game, which was minimal a year ago.
"Our passing game is a lot more complete," Berg said. "We've been working on it during the summer and at camp, so I'm happy with it right now."
Although the Bulldogs remain a little uncertain about their opponent Friday, Berg believes if they just play their style of football, they will be OK.
"We've just tried to give them as much information about the opponent as we know," Berg said. "We are just concentrating on the things that we do well."
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