Baldwin City Coach Mike Berg is looking to move on to the round of eight next week for the first time in four years.
Berg's Baldwin High football team (8-2) will travel to Marysville (5-5) to play in the Class 4A regional round of the state football playoffs today. Kickoff is 2 p.m.
The last time BHS advanced to the sectional round of the playoffs was 2003. Baldwin beat Kansas City Piper, 41-20, in the regional round before losing to Fort Scott, 20-7.
"It's been since 2003," Berg said. "This has been the goal going into the season. We wanted to be 3-0 in districts and then take it one game at a time. Our kids are ready."
On top of the short week, Baldwin players are also trying to keep their normal routine this week. The Baldwin district has been out of school since Thursday.
"The big word around here is routine," Berg said. "We are trying to keep the same routine. We are waking up at the same time and having some walk-throughs in the morning. We've gotten as much practice time as we would have on a normal week."
In their bi-district game Tuesday, the Bulldogs rushed for 476 yards as they crushed Kansas City Ward, 41-7. They hope to move on this year behind their powerful running attack.
"That's our strength," Berg said. "We've got to be able to run the ball. We've been working on this short week against their defense. They run that stack 3-3-5 defense. It's going to be a challenge for us. They have a lot of speed."
All three of Baldwin's running backs are healthy and ready for today's contest. The three-headed monster of Sam Beecher, Gabe Mason and Jared Hall should lead the Baldwin offensive attack.
"We are healthy, and I think our guys are ready to go," Berg said.
Baldwin's opponent, Marysville, is coming off a thrilling 22-21 victory over Perry-Lecompton. Marysville converted a two-point conversion late to take a lead it held until the end.
Berg said Marysville's offense is similar to KC Ward's. The Cyclones primarily run a shotgun formation with three to four wide receivers.
"They remind us of Ward with their schemes," Berg said. "They are going to try to spread us out in the shotgun formation and throw the ball. They have some really fast receiver and some good linemen."
One difference in the two offenses is that Marysville's quarterback can beat opponents with his legs, too.
"He's more mobile," Berg said. "He is not only able to throw the ball, he can also run. He had most of their yards against Perry."
The winner will face the winner of Columbus and Fort Scott on Friday night.