Bedford North Lawrence Sports
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FOOTBALL: Line ‘em up to knock ‘em down

Matthew Hsu

BNL offensive lineman Andrew Hsu looks for his next blocking target during team camp on Monday afternoon.

Weber views offensive line

as another ‘skill’ position

and the key to BNL’s success

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

The days of the slow, slothful, sluggish, soft offensive lineman at Bedford North Lawrence are over.

That’s the old standard. Take the big, hefty kids and stick them up front to block. Bigger was better. Not anymore. Speed is now as important as strength. The intelligence quota number is as crucial as a bench press total.

Size is still a factor. BNL will have four returning starters up front in 2015, and none of them are small, with three weighing over 260 pounds. But they are solid, not spongy. Quick, not rooted in place. Smart, not dense. They have to be.

“People don’t understand,” BNL coach Steve Weber said. “It’s not just blocking the man over you, they have calls to make, they have to identify the defense and what steps they are taking. Then they have to react to the defense if it moves. So there’s a ton of stuff.

BNL senior Jack Bailey fights off a charging defender.

BNL senior Jack Bailey fights off a charging defender.

“In my opinion, they’re the best athletes on the field.”

Now, note that Weber smiled when he said that. Note that Weber, a former offensive lineman, is biased. But also note that BNL’s read-option demands power and movement to create quick-strike holes. Note that success in football, in its simplest form, is based on running the ball and stopping the run. It all happens up front.

“Without the line, our triple option is going nowhere,” Weber said. “In my mind, we win or we lose according to that.”

There’s truth, and pressure, in that statement. Weber views the line as another “skill” position, which normally refers to the ballhandlers. He would like stats to discuss, just like rushing yards or a completion percentage. He wants them noticed, more than when they jump offside or get flagged for holding.

It takes a certain mindset, a willingness to compete, an eagerness to collide, a passion for pain, to play the position.

“It’s fun,” said BNL senior Nick Franklin. “I just love blocking people. I started in the fourth grade and I’ve played right tackle since then.”

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FOOTBALL: Stars roll sevens in scrimmages

Drew Roberts

BNL’s Drew Roberts skies for a touchdown catch during Saturday’s 7-on-7 tournament at West Washington.

From Middle of Nowhere,

BNL tests its improvement

during 7-on-7 competitions

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

CAMPBELLSBURG – The Middle of Nowhere. It’s a forlorn, lost land, a no-fun zone. Bedford North Lawrence football has been found there many times during its history, most recently two seasons ago when the Stars went 1-9 in Steve Weber’s first year as head coach.

BNL went back there on Saturday morning. Not because of lack of direction, for the Stars went 3-1 during the West Washington 7-on-7 scrimmages. What else do you call a place surrounded by corn fields, a place cell signals struggle to reach, where grain silos are the skyscrapers? If it’s not the capital of Nowhere, it’s certainly the suburbs.

The Stars went there to find themselves. And what they discovered was promising.

BNL bounced Corydon, Charlestown’s B unit, and Brownstown to go unbeaten in pool play. The Stars dropped a 20-7 decision to Indian Creek, a pass-happy program, in the semifinal, but they left with positive reinforcement for the work they’ve done since going 4-6 in 2014.

“It was good day for competition,” BNL coach Steve Weber said. “I learned we have made a lot of improvements. I learned that what we are doing is working.”

The format did not favor the Stars, who will still run the read-option, run-first offense. No running game, no pass rush, no tackling, four seconds for a quarterback to pick apart the secondary with multiple targets. Games consisted a 25 minutes with a running clock. Tempo was key and converting possessions was critical.

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BASEBALL: Price chasing his dream to the Pacific

Patrick Price had two hits and drove in the game-winning runs in the bottom of the seventh as BNL clipped Vincennes Lincoln 2-1 on Monday afternoon.

BNL right fielder Patrick Price hit .329 with 20 RBIs during the 2015 campaign.

Former BNL outfielder destined

to play for SW Oregon program

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Where in the world, without asking Google or Carmen Sandiego, is Coos Bay? Sounds Australian. Perhaps California, or Louisiana. Wrong. Ask former Bedford North Lawrence outfielder Patrick Price.

He believes he has found his baseball field of dreams there.

Patrick Price

Patrick Price

Coos Bay is located in Oregon, just a long fly ball (two miles) from the Pacific Ocean. It’s the home of Southwestern Oregon Community College, and it’s the future home of Price as he chases his goal of a baseball career.

How in the world did a Bedford kid, who’s never been further away from home than Indianapolis, land there? Price has never seen the campus, unless he’s pulled it up on Google Earth. It’s a not-so-long story for a long-shot destination.

One day Price is working at the city pool, the next he is changing his future plans, ditching Manchester (in safe and secure Indiana) for the chance to play, sight-unseen for all involved parties, 2,427 miles (39 driving hours) away from home.

“Oh my gosh, it’s far,” Price said. “But it will be worth it. I’m going with my gut, my instincts.”

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FOOTBALL: Thunder in the summer time

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BNL junior offensive lineman Andrew Scarpellini works on a technique drill during a practice session.

Weights on the floor, noise

on the field as Stars work on

progress for 2015 campaign

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Thunder crashes, echoes, shakes, reverberates – not from the cloudy skies, although with the recent Florida weather pattern (minus the ocean and beach) it now rains every afternoon.

The rumbles are originating from BNL Fieldhouse, from deep in its concrete bowels, from the massive free weights that drop to the floor, bouncing and booming. For a football coach, that’s sweet music. Play it again.

BNL senior linebacker Tiger Baldwin works on his footwork during a drill.

BNL senior linebacker Tiger Baldwin works on his footwork during a drill.

Grunts, growls, pain and sweat are the quartet playing in the background. Bedford North Lawrence football never sounded so good.

This studio, this cell of cold steel, this sanctum of suffering, is where the Stars will determine success or failure. The practice field is the classroom. This is the lab. It smells as one might suspect, from the dozens of young men – some ripped, some rumpled – who are willing to withstand the torturous hours it takes to win.

Autumn’s Friday night success is born here, on a rainy summer Tuesday afternoon. BNL jumped from one win in Steve Weber’s first year as head coach to four in Season 2. That ranked 16th in the state in terms of improvement. The Stars want that trajectory to continue.

This where is will happen. Not in 7-on-7 scrimmages, not with flashy skill players with stats, but with powerful linemen who can move mountains with fast feet and a firm foundation, but with defenders who can fly. Supermen. BNL has had a shortage of those during lean years. Weber intends to find some, create some.

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VOLLEYBALL: Like sand through the hourglass

Bailey Nier

BNL senior Bailey Nier is the “Queen of the Sand” for the Stars, who must replace six graduated seniors when the 2015 regular season begins.

These are the summer days

of BNL’s 2015 lives as Stars

prepare for upcoming season

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence senior Bailey Nier owns a crown, one that sparkles after it was sandblasted with sweat, dirt and desire. She is the “Queen of the Sand.”

Everybody bow.

Unlike most monarchs that inherit royal status, Nier earned hers. She emerged, with sand caked to almost every exposed layer of skin after surviving 12 matches during a 24-hour period, as the overall points leader during a recent two-player tournament on the sand court at the home of BNL coach Scott Saunders.

She’s proud of that honor, the leader of the “sand worms.”

Life has been a beach this summer. The Stars have spent more time outside than they have inside the walls of the practice courts. Want to track their progress? Follow the grains of sand.

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

IMG_0996Enjoy the holiday!

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BASEBALL: BNL’s Long commits to IU

BNLs Austin Long eyes his target. Long struck out 11 in 6 innings as the Sgtars conquered Madison 4-2.

BNL’s Austin Long

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Bedford North Lawrence junior Austin Long has verbally committed to play for Indiana University.

Long, who went 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA for the Stars in 2015, received an offer on Wednesday after touring the campus and program facilities. The next day, his decision was made and his response was simple: “I want to be a Hoosier.”

Long, a hard-throwing right-hander who totaled 44 strikeouts in 38.7 innings, had a trip scheduled to North Carolina State. That has been cancelled. “I’m very excited,” he said. “I’ve been to a lot of games there, and it’s a nice atmosphere, a good program. I know I wanted to be here so my family can come to the home games.”

Long also hit .356 for the Stars, and he indicated the IU staff would give him opportunities in the field (at either first or third base). The Hoosiers went to the College World Series in 2013 and won the Big Ten in ’14. First-year coach Chris Lemonis guided IU to a 35-24 record in 2015.

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COLUMN: 10 burning BNL questions for 2015-16

BNLs Kat Emery strikes a shot. Emery scored the second goal of the game for the Stars

BNL’s Kat Emery and the Stars could chase their first sectional title in 2015.

“Dead Week” doesn’t mean any walking dead around here. The IHSAA might mandate a week away from organized offseason chaos, but that’s the norm when tracking 19 different sports.

So while soaking in summer rays, or teeing off, or traveling to another basketball pit stop, here are thoughts to ponder for the seasons ahead.

10. Girls soccer: The Stars went 10-8-1 in 2014, and they will return plenty of offensive firepower and the best goalie in the Hoosier Hills Conference. BNL, which lost to Bloomington South 1-0 in the sectional final, has never won a sectional championship. Can the Stars break through?

9. Girls golf: Who steps into Kennedy Holtsclaw shoes? BNL has won back-to-back sectional titles, and Holtsclaw finished seventh in the state as an individual, capping a star-studded career. The last time an entire BNL team qualified for the state was 1985.

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5 Not so Serious Questions: Brayden Tidd

BNL's Brayden Tidd and the Stars will chase their first victory this season when they visit New Albany on Friday night.

BNL’s Brayden Tidd

It’s Summer Blockbuster season, and it’s the IHSAA-mandated “dead week.” So it’s the perfect time to talk super heroes and action flicks with Bedford North Lawrence’s man of action, senior quarterback Brayden Tidd, who isn’t afraid to get up to speed on a jet ski in the ocean.

Question 1: Are you a Marvel or DC guy?

Tidd: I’m Marvel. I’m not into comic stuff, but I like the movies.

Question 2: Have you actually read one, or even held one, of the comic books?

Tidd: I’ve made my own in class, but I’ve never read one. I was a super hero in mine, and I was anti-drugs.

Question 3: If you could be a super hero on the football field, what power would you want?

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GIRLS BASKETBALL: Stars make ‘em swoon in June

BNLs Kennedy Bunch flies out of bounds to save a loose ball during Thursdays scrimmage with Southport.

BNL’s Kennedy Bunch flies out of bounds to save a loose ball during Thursday’s scrimmage with Southport.

BNL ends month of scrimmages

with sparkling 9-1 record after

55-26 triumph over Southport

By Justin Sokeland

TheHHCSports.com

Now that June basketball is officially finished, for those expecting Bedford North Lawrence to swoon when the real heat is cranked on when winter arrives, dwell on this fact:

The Stars played 10 scrimmage games during the last two weeks. They won nine of them, capped by the 55-26 smashing of Southport on Thursday evening.

Of course the Stars lost three Indiana All-Stars. Of course June games count about as much as a Russian vote total. Of course BNL will be everyone’s target for four years worth of revenge when the 2015-16 season starts.

Be warned. Be wary. Be worried. BNL will not buckle. Not if June is a precursor for November.

“We obviously have a lot of people that will come gunning for us,” BNL coach Jeff Allen said. “We’ll be under the gun to prove ourselves. But June really helped with our confidence.”

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