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Baker, 7-2, will play host to Banks in a playoff game either Nov. 14 or 15
Baker’s defense, the backbone of the Bulldogs’ success all season, stepped to the forefront against Mac-Hi Friday.
Baker’s Walker Kaseberg went up over a Mac-Hi defender for a touchdown Friday in Baker’s 22-6 Greater Oregon League win. (Baker City Herald/Kathy Orr)
Mac-Hi entered the game averaging 24 points a game in Greater Oregon League play. But with the GOL championship on the line, Baker shut the Pioneers down for a 22-6 victory at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
“Our defense played very well,” said Baker coach Dave Johnson.
The Bulldogs intercepted four Mac-Hi passes — one each by Rowdy LaMiller, Dekker Smith, Chad Adams and Steven Talbot. LaMiller’s theft was his seventh of the season.
“Rowdy’s had a great year anchoring our secondary,” Johnson said.
The win secured the GOL title and a first-round bye in the Class 4A state playoffs.
“It was for the league championship and we’ll take it,” Johnson said. “This was our third league championship. All the credit goes to the boys for their hard work after placing second a year ago.”
Johnson said Mac-Hi is much improved this season.
“They are a much better team than they were. I was pleased with the way our boys responded. Even when Mac-Hi was moving the ball in the second quarter we didn’t panic.
“In that second quarter Mac-Hi took care of business, then we bowed our necks and shut them down. That’s typical for us, to bend but not break.”
Johnson said he also was pleased when the Bulldogs scored late in the first half to gain momentum.
“Went went down and scored late just before halftime. I think we’ve done that almost every game this season,” Johnson said.
Baker got on the scoreboard first with 7:08 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Jordan Harlow connected on a 13-yard scoring toss with Walker Kaseberg. The conversion attempt was no good leaving Baker up 6-0.
Mac-Hi knotted the score at 6-6 with 5:50 left in the first half, using a “gadget” play to even the count.
Lining up with three backs, the Pioneers used a series of handoffs before receiver Nick Watts threw a halfback option pass to Kendall Brown for a 76-yard score.
Harlow gave Baker the lead for good with 14 seconds left in the half when he found Smith from 12 yards out for the touchdown. Harlow then connected with Kaseberg for the two-point conversion and a 14-6 halftime lead.
Baker’s defense got into the scoring column with 23 seconds left in the third quarter when Kennan Richards sacked Mac-Hi quarterback Alex Rodighiero in the end zone for a safety.
The Bulldogs then completed the scoring with 8:30 left in the game when Harlow connected with Trace Richardson for a 17-yard TD strike.
Adams finished the game with 152 yards on the ground, his third straight 100-plus-yard outing.
Harlow was 9-of-23 passing for 137 yards. Kaseberg caught four passes for 41 yards.
Baker (7-2) is now idle until the weekend of Nov. 14-15 when the Bulldogs host Banks in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Baker 6 8 2 6 — 22
B — Kaseberg 13 pass from Harlow (Run failed)
M — Brown 76 pass from Watts (Kick failed)
B — Smith 12 pass from Harlow (Kaseberg pass from Harlow)
B — Safety: Rodighiero tackled in end zone by Richards
B — Richardson 17 pass from Harlow (Kick failed)
Rushing — Mac-Hi: Stanford 15-76, Kralman 13-37, Oliva 1-0, Rodighiero 6-(minus-14). Baker: Adams 13-152, Talbot 14-29, Kaseberg 1-11, Brown 1-(-minus-9), Harlow 3-(minus-46).
Passing — Mac-Hi: Rodighiero 5-14-4-27, Watts 1-1-0-76. Baker: Harlow 9-23-1-137, Brown 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — Mac-Hi: Brown 2-80, Knight 2-16, Grimaldi 1-6, Kralman 1-1. Baker: Kaseberg 4-41, Richards 2-57, Smith 2-22, Richardson 1-17.
Class 4A football playoffs
Games of Nov. 7-8
A: Tillamook at Newport
B: Henley at Siuslaw
C: Junction City at Ontario
D: Philomath at LaSalle Prep
Douglas at Estacada
Winner A at North Valley
Winner B at Marist
Banks at BAKER
Hidden Valley at Gladstone
Winner C at Central
Winner D at North Bend
LaPine at Astoria