Coach thankful for cooler weather as practice starts
As the Baldwin High School football team took the field Monday morning for its first two-a-day practice, the cool weather had the distinct feel of fall.
The pleasant temperatures pleased Bulldog coach Mike Berg, as did his team’s first workout.
“We really enjoyed the weather,” he said. “The kids practiced hard today with a lot of intensity and enthusiasm.”
The Bulldogs return 34 lettermen from the 2011 squad, Berg said. Six defensive starters return, and five starters return on offense. But 12 seniors are gone from the team that finished 6-4 and qualified for the playoffs.
“We have a lot of questions, especially in the lines,” Berg said. “We have to replenish the offensive and defensive lines.”
In 18 days, Baldwin will take on a familiar foe, although one missing from recent schedules. The team opens Aug. 31 at home against what Berg said would be a solid Wellsville team.
“They’re well-coached, tough and feisty,” Berg said. “They were something like 10-2 last year.”
Looking ahead to Frontier League play, Berg said the top teams would again be De Soto and longtime 4A powers Eudora, Louisburg and Paola.
Although the Kansas State High School Athletic Association reassigns football districts every two years, Baldwin will remain in a district with the same three teams it faced in 2010 and 2011 of Ottawa, Santa Fe Trail and Eudora.
Berg said the kind of team Baldwin fields by the time district starts against Oct. 12 against Ottawa will depend on the work the players put in the weeks ahead. But he added he knew enough about Baldwin players to be confident his team would answer the challenge.
“I really like our kids,” he said. “They are fighters. The all work hard. We just have to put them in those game situations and see how they do.
“The thing I have noticed about Baldwin kids — they always put up a fight.”